BOCES principal has felony on record

Case could be dis­missed by court in Fe­bru­ary ’17

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Diane Pineiro-Zucker dpzucker@free­manon­line.com Di­aneAt­Free­man on Twit­ter

KINGSTON >> The re­cently ap­pointed principal of the Ul­ster BOCES Ca­reer & Tech­ni­cal Cen­ter was ar­rested on a felony charge in Novem­ber 2015 af­ter a do­mes­tic in­ci­dent on eastern Long Is­land.

Dean Lucera ap­peared in Southamp­ton Town Court on Wed­nes­day to present proof of his com­ple­tion of an anger man­age­ment class, au­thor­i­ties said.

The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion of the Ul­ster Board of Co­op­er­a­tive Ed­u­ca­tional Ser­vices ap­pointed Lucera in Au­gust to head the Ca­reer & Tech­ni­cal Cen­ter in Port Ewen.

Board mem­bers and BOCES Su­per­in­ten­dent Charles V. Khoury were aware of the felony crim­i­nal mis­chief charge against Lucera when he was ap­pointed, ac­cord­ing to the su­per­in­ten­dent and board Pres­i­dent Pa­trick Rausch.

In Fe­bru­ary, charges against Lucera were ad­journed in con­tem­pla­tion of dis­missal in the Southamp­ton Town Court and are ex­pected to be dis­missed on Feb. 2, 2017, if Lucera “does not oth­er­wise vi­o­late the con­di­tions” of the ad­journ­ment, Robert Clif­ford of the Suf­folk County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice said in an email Tues­day.

At the time of his ar­rest, Lucera was su­per­in­ten­dent of the Tuck­a­hoe Com­mon School Dis­trict on eastern Long Is­land. He re­signed from that dis­trict in March, ac­cord­ing to The Southamp­ton Press.

Charges against Lucera stem from a do­mes­tic in­ci­dent on Nov. 21, 2015, dur­ing which it was al­leged “the de­fen­dant and the vic­tim en­gaged in a ver­bal ar­gu­ment in a res­tau­rant . ... The vic­tim drove the de­fen­dant from the res­tau­rant to her home so that he could re­trieve his car,” Clif­ford wrote. “When they ar­rived at the vic­tim’s home, the ar­gu­ment re­sumed and the vic­tim left the de­fen­dant in her drive­way and drove to the Westhamp­ton Po­lice Depart­ment to report the in­ci­dent. She then re­al­ized that she had taken the de­fen­dant’s car keys with her. When the vic­tim re­turned home with a po­lice of­fi­cer to give the de­fen­dant his keys, her front door was dam­aged.”

Clif­ford said Lucera was or­dered to com­plete a 32week Struc­tured Help An­tiv­i­o­lence Re-ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram “for per­pe­tra­tors of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.”

On Wed­nes­day, Lucera’s at­tor­ney, Tor Ja­cob Wor­soe Jr., said his client had pre­sented the court with ev­i­dence of com­ple­tion of the pro­gram and, on Feb. 2, 2017, “all charges will be dis­missed.”

“It’s now just a mat­ter of passing time,” Wor­soe said. “In this case, the system worked.”

Reached at his Port Ewen of­fice last week, Lucera said the is­sue was “re­solved” and “there was no cred­i­bil­ity to it.”

Rausch said last week that the BOCES board was “fully aware” of the charges when it voted to ap­point Lucera in Au­gust. He said the su­per­in­ten­dent “had a lot of con­cerns” about Lucera and had vet­ted the can­di­date to the board’s sat­is­fac­tion.

He said the vote to ap­point Lucera was 10-1, with Trus­tee Sue Gil­more vot­ing against the ap­point­ment.

“Clearly, if this would stay a felony, the board would have to re­visit it be­cause there would be con­cerns,” Rausch said.

“As a can­di­date, the man had ev­ery­thing we need to take our pro­gram to the next level,” he said. “Our board fully trusts our su­per­in­ten­dent.”

Last week, Khoury said he had not re­viewed a copy of Lucera’s ar­rest report prior to rec­om­mend­ing his ap­point­ment or since. “I did read the po­lice blot­ter ac­count (in the news­pa­per) and I thought I read some­thing else that de­scribed the in­ci­dent in quite a bit of de­tail (likely in the news­pa­pers as well) and nu­mer­ous other news­pa­per ac­counts, all of which I dis­cussed with Mr. Lucera dur­ing the re­view process,” the su­per­in­ten­dent wrote in an email.

In a phone in­ter­view, Khoury said he knew of Lucera’s pre­vi­ous po­si­tion on Long is­land and “checked with a num­ber of col­leagues” there, all of whom “at­tested to his pro­fes­sion­al­ism and de­meanor” and “were shocked” by his ar­rest.

Khoury called the in­ci­dent “a per­sonal dis­pute that got picked up by a lo­cal news­pa­per.”

He also said Lucera was hired at a be­gin­ning principal’s salary, which he called “a fairly low price point.”

“If I can get some­body at a low price, I will . ... The best per­son at the low­est price, be­cause it’s the tax­payer’s ex­pense,” Khoury said.

Lucera’s salary is $112,000 a year. He suc­ceeded re­tired Principal Genna Su­raci, who was paid $135,572 in the job, ac­cord­ing to the See Through New York web­site.

Lucera’s salary as su­per­in­ten­dent of the Tuck­a­hoe school dis­trict was $174,588, ac­cord­ing to the web­site.

Khoury said “prob­a­bly” about three or four other ap­pli­cants were con­sid­ered for the BOCES po­si­tion, adding Lucera is “do­ing a fine job.”

“The staff likes him and the kids like him,” he said.

Asked why the Au­gust press re­lease an­nounc­ing Lucera’s ap­point­ment and the BOCES web­site make no men­tion of Lucera’s ten­ure in the Tuck­a­hoe dis­trict, Khoury said: “We were fo­cus­ing on his prepa­ra­tions/qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the job that he was fill­ing. ... I be­lieve that we also did not men­tion that he was the dis­trict su­per­in­ten­dent of Eastern Suf­folk BOCES as well, though both were noted to my BOCES board prior to his hir­ing.”

Lucera

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