Dis­trict lead­ers un­fazed by or un­aware of ar­rest

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

School dis­trict lead­ers in­ter­viewed about a felony charge be­ing lev­eled against an Ul­ster BOCES prin­ci­pal be­fore he was hired ei­ther were un­con­cerned about the mat­ter or said they were un­aware of it be­fore the hir­ing oc­curred.

Dean Lucera came on board in Au­gust as prin­ci­pal of the Ul­ster BOCES Ca­reer & Tech­ni­cal Cen­ter in Port Ewen. Last week, the Free­man re­ported Lucera had been charged with felony crim­i­nal mis­chief last Novem­ber after a do­mes­tic in­ci­dent on east­ern Long Is­land, where he lived at the time.

The case in­volved an ar­gu­ment be­tween Lucera and a woman in a restau­rant and later at her home, as well as dam­age to the front door of the home, ac­cord­ing to the Suf­folk County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice.

Ul­ster BOCES board mem­bers and Su­per­in­ten­dent Charles V. Khoury were aware of the charge when Lucera was ap­pointed, ac­cord­ing to the su­per­in­ten­dent and board Pres­i­dent Pa­trick Rausch. In Fe­bru­ary, the charges 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, the Suf­folk DA’s of­fice said.

Kingston school dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Padalino said he knew about the mat­ter prior to the Free­man’s story ap­pear­ing and was not trou­bled by the hir­ing.

“I think that he (Khoury) and the board have their

pro­ce­dures and they did their due dili­gence, and I think if they’re com­fort­able with the new prin­ci­pal, I trust their judge­ment and their process,” Padalino said.

Padalino said if such a can­di­date was up for a job in Kingston, the dis­trict would take po­lice records into ac­count.

“Our stan­dard prac­tice would be to speak to the in­di­vid­ual and re­quest that all court doc­u­ments and pa­pers be pro­vided to us as it moves through the court,” he said.

Sauger­ties school dis­trict Su­per­in­tend Seth Turner said he was not told about Lucera’s ar­rest, or even his hir­ing by BOCES, un­til after the fact.

“I learned of the hir­ing after it had al­ready taken place from the BOCES board of ed,” he said.

Turner said he could not com­ment fur­ther about Lucera with­out hav­ing more in­for­ma­tion.

El­lenville school dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Lisa Wiles spoke sim­i­larly.

“I don’t know about this, and I’d have to see doc­u­ments my­self,” she said. “I haven’t heard any­thing.”

High­land school dis­trict As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent Sarah Dudley-Le­mek, fill­ing in for Su­per­in­ten­dent Deb­o­rah Haab, also said she did not of the mat­ter ahead of time.

The su­per­in­ten­dents of the One­ora and Ron­d­out Val­ley school dis­tricts did not re­turn a re­porter’s calls.

Lucera was su­per­in­ten­dent of the Tuck­a­hoe Com­mon School Dis­trict on east­ern Long Is­land at the time of his ar­rest. The Au­gust press re­lease about Lucera’s lo­cal hir­ing that was is­sued by Ul­ster BOCES made no men­tion of his ten­ure in that dis­trict.


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