The voted Tuesday evening to appoint a retired Chatham school official as the interim business administrator, filling a after state corruption charges.
The board accepted Schools Superintendent Margaret Dolan’s recommendation to appoint Vincent Yaniro to fill the business administrator and board secretary’s post. Yaniro succeeds Bob Berman, who was suspended from the post last Thursday after he was with second degree bribery as a part of a bid-rigging scandal by the state attorney general. Dolan had been performing the business administrator’s duties on an acting basis since Berman’s suspension during an emergency BOE meeting.
Berman has to the charge.
Yaniro retired as the business administrator for the Chathams school district in 2005 and held a senior business post in the Ridgewood school district. Dolan said he served as interim business administrator in five school districts, most recently in Somerset Hills. According to an article in the Franklin Lakes-Oakland Suburban News from February 2010, Yaniro served two years as the interim business administrator in the Oakland schools and held the Chatham post for 21 years.
“I was lucky to be able to make my reference calls quickly,” Dolan said. “Without qualification I was told about Mr. Yaniro’s strengths.”
Yaniro was picked after a quick search process. Berman was charged in the bid-rigging scandal on Wednesday afternoon, being suspended during the Thursday evening meeting. During that meeting Dolan was charged with finding an interim replacement for Berman as quickly as possible.
“Those who know me, know that I tend to be rather literal,” she said. “Which is why tonight, only a few night later, I am ready to recommend someone.”
Dolan said that she interviewed several candidates for the position and found that Yaniro fit what the district was looking for in an interim business administrator. She noted he was available immediately and brought expertise from his past school districts.
Dolan’s view was seconded by board members.
“I did have the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with Mr. Yaniro and he is an excellent choice for the position,” BOE member Rich Mattessich said.
Yaniro started in the school district Monday and Dolan said she has been working to bring him up to speed on the school district’s budget. Yaniro’s first priority is to work to finalize the . The BOE and the BOE finance committee is scheduled to spend the rest of March finalizing a budget to present to voters in the April 27 school election. The board has penciled in a March 29 date to approve the final budget.
Berman had been working with Dolan on the budget prep and a week before his suspension had presented the full board with a draft budget plan, which was adopted.
Other matters in Yaniro’s inbox include supervising the school election, one of the in years, along with working on facilities issues, including the district’s long awaited move to installing solar panels on district buildings. Yaniro is scheduled to preside over the ceremony to draw ballot positions for the eight Board of Education candidates on Thursday.
In answer to a question from BOE member Mitch Slater, Dolan said Yaniro had the expertise to handle the Westfield post following the circumstances following Berman’s suspension.
“There were some situations where he had to jump right in,” Dolan said of Yaniro’s past interim posts.
Outside of naming the interim business administrator, Dolan said the board’s private session would include discussion of the termination of the school district’s relationship with engineer Ken Disko and Metropolitan Metal Window Company. Disko was charged in the same scandal as Berman as directing contractors to change contracts and bids for three school districts – Westfield, Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Tinton Falls. Berman is accused of accepting over $13,000 in glass windows and doors from Metropolitan in return for recommending the BOE retain the company as a contractor.
Dolan also indicated that she is in the process of retaining a forensic auditor to review the school district’s records from 2004-2008, the period for which Berman is accused of accepting bribes.