Saturday, February 25, 2017

This nonsense has to stop!

Elaine Cappucci appears to be running again for School Board. You may remember that she had to resign because of a family member interviewing for a teaching position in the Mt. Lebanon School District. The family member was hired. Elaine is now running on the same ballot as Mary Birks. Both are huge Timmy supporters. Here is the information that was sent to me this morning.


I will accept anonymous comments for this post, to protect the identity of those who identified this situation. 

This must stop!!!!!!!

111 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mt. Lebanon, you've been had!

Anonymous said...

Is not the same conflict of interest present now that her son is a teacher as it was when he applied for a teaching position? Our school board makes the Mafia look like pikers! Ms. Cappucci is running less to be a member of the board than to be capo di tutt'i capi.

Anonymous said...

For those taxpayers that have forgotten or are relative newcomers!

From Lebocitizens-

"

The Mt. Lebanon School Board created The Mt. Lebanon Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and announced the members of the CAC at the November 9, 2009 Discussion Meeting. This group collectively had over 300 years of design and construction experience among them. The CAC held six meetings from November 12, 2009 to December 8, 2009. Report to the School Board December 14, 2009 The school board did not accept any of the significant design issues that were recommended by the CAC. Part 1 of the podcast is available here. Part 2 of the podcast is available here.

What was Cappucci' response to the CAC findings?

Something like, she had no intention of revisiting the HS renovation plans.

Also, didn't Cappucci lead the hiring of Pursuant Ketchum to run the Capital Campaign Fund Raiser? Which to date we've not gotten a itemized accounting of.

Pursuant is long gone as is the $100,000 Campaign Manager (DeLuca) which Cappucci approved.

So, I guess if you're OK with your skyrocketing school taxes, go ahead bring back Cappucci and retain Birks and Remely.

Just don't say we didn't warn ya.

Anonymous said...

Cappucci would have to recuse herself from all issues involving pay, health insurance, pensions, curriculum, school calendar, class sizes, textbooks and so on and so forth as all would have a conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

According to the Post Gazette's announcement last year of Cappucci's resignation from the board...

"Mrs. Cappucci's resignation is immediate. She declined to say which relative was seeking employment, or what position was being considered. The district's nepotism policy prohibits board members from being related to district employees."

Is the PG wrong on the district's nepotism policy?
Has the board changed the policy?
Is Cappucci really running again?
Or is her relative no longer and employee of the district?

Anonymous said...

Pennsylvania's Public Official And Employee Wthics Act

"Under the Ethics Act, a conflict of interest exists when a person uses the authority of their public office/employment or confidential information received through their public office/employment, which is used for the private pecuniary benefit of the public official/public employee himself, any member of his immediate family, or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated. 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1102, 1103(a). e term “business with which he is associated” is defined as “Any business in which the person or a member of the person’s immediate family is a director, officer, owner, and employee or has a financial interest.” 65 Pa.C.S. § 1102.

E. T. Gillen said...

I believe he is still an employee of the district, or so I am told. I know that there are people associated with the district who are very unhappy with this latest development.

Don't forget when Elaine Cappucci and Tom Celli went to Lancaster, PA to make a presentation which was never reviewed or approved by the school board. Scroll down here
to find the presentation made on May 6, 2010.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Lets see ... Cappucci was all for the super's controversial bonus and the very next month her son gets hired by the super ? Yah ... no. Not good.

Anonymous said...

Cappucci bought us the $113 million (yeah, right-- high school)!

Anonymous said...

The high school is wonderful, the classrooms, athletic and arts facilities are all incredible. Overall most aspects of the new building make the project worth the money. It's about the kids, not old people in the community who whine when any money is spent on the next generation! Sad!

E. T. Gillen said...

5:12 PM, what does that have to do with Elaine Cappucci running for school board with her son a teacher in Mt. Lebanon? Is this Timmy looking to get his biggest fan elected?

It is nepotism at its finest.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Hey, that's right, 5:12! We have one of the finest indoctrination centers in the state of Pennsylvania, designed to propagandize the snowflakes that make up 15% of the municipality's population! And do you know what else is about the kids, 5:12? - the debt! The kids are the ones who will be left with it; assuming any of them are dumb enough to stick around after they graduate (which is unlikely, if history is any indication). You must be one of Evita Cappucci's teacher/supporters.

Anonymous said...

5:12, that's a matter of opinion!

Anonymous said...

5:12, how much is it over budget, how many years behind schedule and we still don't have tennis courts!

Anonymous said...

5:12, no comment about the revenues and expenditures from the Capital Campaign?
We were suppose to reap $6 million over the course of 5 years.

E. T. Gillen said...

Hey guys, this is about Elaine Cappucci running for school board while her son has a teaching position in the district. She had to resign immediately. This is also about her involvement with Timmy's $20,000 bonus - just for doing his job. I guess you are all OK with that.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Capital Campaign was stated while Cappucci was on the board.
The high school project was started and managed primarily by Cappucci and Remely.
Going after newcomers for more taxes was during her tenure.

The decision to re-elect her to the board should be weighed on her past performance and whether you believe she can be objective on issues like teachers salaries/contracts with her son being a teacher.

My opinion, she can't and I wasn't crazy about some of her votes before while on the board.

Anonymous said...

In your face Voters ! is the message I get from Cappucci's actions.

Anonymous said...

Send Cappucci packing.

Sylvia

Anonymous said...

Burka and Remely too!

Anonymous said...

Elaine, why don't you run for school board?

E. T. Gillen said...

That would be Timmy's worst nightmare. And Jan Klein's worst nightmare.

I would be in the minority and would be extremely frustrated with the current philosophy, including all the ridiculous testing that we put our kids through so that administrators get their increases and bonuses.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Utilizing the Blog search box function yields these results. https://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/search?q=Cappucci

Does Mount Lebanon really want to go down that treacherous road again ?

Anonymous said...

Nothing will keep Elaine Cappucci off the ballot. Name recognition will get her elected. Sad. Very very sad.

E. T. Gillen said...

Yes, 8:15 AM, it is very sad. I checked the nepotism policy available HERE. Check out #3, under Policy.

For all you optimistic folks who think elections clean house, sorry to tell you, but the fix is in. There are five seats out of the nine open this year, which translate to a majority vote. Even after the election, there will be enough school board director votes to welcome Elaine Cappucci back. We will get to see her snarling face for four more years. Mary Birks is running with her. She will win too, because of name recognition. The only way it could blow up for the Birks/Cappucci ticket is if there are four directors on the board who are not up for re-election and a fifth candidate who would vote her out. Timmy can breathe easy.

Also, thanks 7:12 PM, for doing some research on the blog about Elaine Cappucci. She has been in office since before I started the blog. It would dash my hopes of cleaning up the school board if Elaine comes back. She was rude to every resident who challenged the school board. Mary Birks likes to roll her eyes at those people.

The Mt. Lebanon political machine is unstoppable.
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

What a waste of energy. It is definitely a done deal.

According to her son's LinkedIn profile, not only is he a teacher at Jefferson Middle School, he was hired as an assistant football coach, a position well deserved. Will Elaine be permitted to vote for any improvements for the Rock Pile?

We'll have all the sports people voting for Elaine, so they can get their precious toxic turf.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Per the nepotism policy:
2. No relative of a Board member, the Superintendent or an Assistant or Associate Superintendent shall be appointed, hired or advanced to any regular employment, professional or otherwise, within the Mt. Lebanon School District. ...

OK, so Cappucci resigns so her son can get a teaching job and nobody can say it was because she was on the Board at the time. Now that said son is well positioned, she comes back to the Board. During her term, will said son be "advanced?" Well.....

3. The provisions of paragraph 2 may be waived by the Board upon a finding by a majority of disinterested Board members that, considering such factors as the person=s (sic) experience, qualifications and/or the nature of the position, the public interest would be served and not harmed as a result of the waiver.

The nepotism policy is a joke; the Board is a joke; and the voters are dumber than a bag full of hammers.

Publis

Anonymous said...

Publis, dumber than a bag of hammers is giving the voters way too much credit!

I'm curious regarding Cappucci's "well-deserved" position as an assistant football coach. Did he determine it was well deserved, his mom or the current coach who's compensation and the team's support will be overseen by... ta da... Ms. Cappucci, school director.

Nah, there's no conflict with Cappucci on the Board again. 🙉🙈🙊

Anonymous said...

Let's examine some MTL history.

The sports cabal wins and gets their wished for artificial turf down at the crown jewel field.

OK, but the cabal PROMISED to pay for the maintenance and replacement of the turf due in 8-10 years. Does anyone know how much has been bank rolled for that inevitability?

Now onto the high school. A major part of that renovation went into the sport facilities, excluding the tennis courts and the practice field which unfortunately they've been using as a dirt pile for the last 4-5 years.

Funny, the practice field was unusual for 5 years, but now we need to spend $1 million turfing it! Shouldn't the recovery and rehab of that practice field been included in the original HS renovation plans? Or, did they omit that from the original bid token in under the Act 34 cap. In other words, Cappucci, Remely, and Birks pulled the wool over our eyes!

No, Cappucci way back when favored turfing the practice field apparently and sure as shooting will authorize a million dollar turfing of it should she get re-elected.

Here's something else to think about. That Capital Campaign designed to raise $6 million. What has come out of that effort in both expenses and results?

We got a shiny new state-of-the-art training room for sports, but has there been anything done for special education, academics, technology from the proceeds of that campaign?

E. T. Gillen said...

I am saying that it was "well-deserved," 11:16 AM. You can't take that away from him. He was a great quarterback for Mt. Lebanon.

So Elaine Cappucci will run and get elected. If she gets elected, then the school board has to decide if they will waive it. If the board majority stops it, then there will have to be a special election for her seat. Even though Elaine is very involved with the MLDC, school board members can cross file. Ask Matt Kluck and Hugh Beal about that one.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Special election or appointed by the Board?

E. T. Gillen said...

You may be right, 12:06 PM. I'm not sure how that would work. It will be messy either way.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if i see a real big conflict of interest anymore. Certainly, she did the right thing by stepping down during his interview process, but now that he is hired, what is the conflict of interest? Negotiations for contracts? Teachers contracts are negotiated together, not individually, so would she really give outrageous bonuses and benefits to EVERYONE just for one family member? Doubtful, and it's not as if she negotiates contracts on her own. I don't really see the football position as nepotism either.. He's the assistant coach at a middle school, and he played high school football here. I don't see a probably with a kid who went here, played here, and now wants to teach here- regardless of who may be in his family. Some family's stay in Lebo their whole lives- it's a great community- and I'm okay with giving preference to applicants who attended here and have strong ties- obviously they care if they want to come back. I can see where your frustrations come from, however, just trying to see it from both sides. Also, to the people who criticized the new weight room, it is well worth the money in my opinion. It is used by the gym classes, sports teams, and there is also a fitness class students can take to get in better shape. The room can truly be used by anyone- and I think a wonderful facility (and wonderful, intelligent trainers) who are there for free to help any student is great thing. Student who can't afford expensive gym memberships and trainers can use it. Again, just trying to see it from both sides. Thank you, Elaine, for providing an honest platform to discuss these things.

Anonymous said...

Elaine, do you really think this hasn't all been pre-planned from her stepping down for her son's hire to getting her back on the board?

She had to step down because there was no way to avoid the conflict of interest policy as pointed out by Publis in the school district policies, but she will be re-elected and the board will wave any conflict as spelled out by provision 3, again shown by Publis.

As far as great quarterback, I've heard some differing opinions on that from several sources that may or may not be due to sour grapes.

Jason Margolis said...

I guess I've been here long enough to remember a history...

Remember Elaine's irresponsible language to justify astronomical tax increases?

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/04/03/Letter-to-the-editor-South-Mt-Lebanon-addicted-to-revenue/stories/201404030007

Anonymous said...


12:28, good points, but tell me where in the Pennsylvania School Code are districts required to have lavish sports facilities, air conditioning, etc., etc.

Obviously, 12:28 you're are enamored by sports facilities. Do you think that the recovery of the practice field - which the renovation destroyed - should have been included in the original project bid? It certainly wasn't a secret that the field was going to be used as construction staging site.

Today, there are people clamoring, not for more sports spending, but for more special education services, smaller classrooms, individual instruction, advanced education. Teachers are fighting to keep their underwater pension plans intact and at the same time our board is crying that they can't provide all of the above without exceeding their taxing ability defined by Act 1.

Therein lies the problem I have with our board's past and present management. We never got answers regarding Sable's $500,000 buyout, all sorts of manipulations were used to get around the HS renovation spending cap, they pass out generous administration bonuses and raises, we've never gotten an accounting on the expenses incurred by the Capital Campaign or the where the revenues went.

Don't you think we should see everything and get to voice our two cents?

Anonymous said...

12:28, do you think, heaven forbid, the school district got into such a position that the board might have to close a school, layoff teachers, cut back on athletics, that Cappucci would be able to make those hard decisions objectively?

Could anyone with a conflict of interest?

Margolis' submission is food for thought!

Anonymous said...

I don't know any of the parties involved. 12:28 pm played down any conflict of interest with this woman serving on the board with her son holding a teaching position with regard to compensation contract negotiations; however, that seems like the definition of a conflict of interest to me. IMO, that is a conflict of interest and should disqualify her from serving on the board. I'm not trying to be petty at all, but that conflict is unacceptable to me. I think if she's a woman of character, that she should recognize that conflict and not run. I'm sure there are other ways that she can get involved with the community and serve.

Anonymous said...

Aside from those who do not see a conflict, legally and ethically speaking, an official has to avoid any appearance of impropriety what so ever. Period. I perceive the third part of the "nepotism policy" as and end run around the issue which to me negates the entire policy. Again, no ethics being adhered to. If Elaine is elected, it would be reportable to the state.

Anonymous said...

12:28 PM -- The issue with Ms. Cappucci is NOT negotiations for teachers salaries as a whole, nor is it with her son being an assistant coach; he was hired as a teacher and became an assistant coach sans Ms. Cappucci being on the Board at the time. The issue is now about any SUBSEQUENT ADVANCEMENT of her son while she is on the Board - something that DOES offer the appearance of impropriety. The Board went out of its way to construct a nepotism policy to prevent the appearance of impropriety. (Of course it effectively cancelled out the provisions of that policy with section 3.) I'm sure Ms. Cappucci sees herself as a civic minded resident who is absolutely right about all things having to do with the pubic schools. But Ms. Cappucci has proven herself incredibly stubborn and nearly incapable of tolerance for those who object to her ideas, as the public record will attest. I doubt if she can see the POTENTIAL for a conflict of interest when he gets her seat back on the Board.

Publis

Anonymous said...

Here's a question for candidate Cappucci.

As a school director where does she stand on say "last hired, first fired" policies.

If she's against it she'd be protecting her son and sacrificing a teacher with seniority. So it isn't hard to see 12:28 where her relationship could cause a conflict of interest.

So you see 12:28 you can't just throw a blanket over the subject and claim that contract negotiations are across the board and therefore not a conflict. There are a number of scenarios where Cappucci could be conflicted.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Publis, very rational observation and thinking.

Anonymous said...

Elaine's son was with the Trinity Area School District from 8/2013 - 8/2016 & MTLSD from 8/2016 - present. Source Linked In.

Elaine resigned at the 7/18/2016 school board meeting. Did she tip him off ? Does MTLSD only take a couple weeks to hire ?

Does the Superintendent do the hiring ?

Lets examine the Board minutes from that Joint meeting (1 meeting in July). http://www.mtlsd.org/uploaded/SchoolBoard/Board_Summaries/July_18,_2016_Board_Meeting_Summary.pdf

Do you see all the motions approved unanimously that night ? Do you see how the Board met in Executive Session before the meeting for the purpose of personnel matters ?

Conflict !

Anonymous said...

Thank you 3:09.
Of course Cappucci wouldn't think of alerting her son of an open teaching position and of course Dr. S. wouldn't shuffle his application to the top of the pile.
That'd never happen would it?

Anonymous said...

Reading the photographed note - "there is also the appearance of collusion".

Collusion - secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose (Merriam-Webster)

Between the Superintendent and Ms. Cappucci? Has this been reported to Harrisburg? An investigation is in order!

E. T. Gillen said...

Ah, you picked up on that, 8:37 AM. Wouldn't that be grounds for dismissal of Timmy, if proven to be true?

According to my records, Elaine Cappucci was on the board on June 20, 2016 when Timmy got his raise and $20,000 merit pay for doing his job. See my Timmy memes here: School board approves Timmy's increases tomorrow, June 20 UPDATED 4X
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

Conveniently, Elaine Cappucci missed that June 20, 2016 meeting. However, it appeared on the June 13, 2016 Discussion Meeting Agenda.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see how many candidates for the position were interviewed to find the absolute best one.
Surely there's a stack of very competent experienced teachers trying to get into the district. If it's one of the premier districts to put your kids in it'd have to be one of the most desirable to teach in.

My guess, Cappucci was first in a very, very, very, short line of candidates.

Anonymous said...

Of course it was just a remarkable coincidence that young Cappucci wanted to get out of the Trinity SD after only two years at the same time as a position opened up in the MTLSD.

Anonymous said...

In short order, we should be seeing a Mt. Lebanon magazine article extolling the virtues of JV football, artificial turf and recycling tires and plastic into fake grass.

Then everything will be OK, except for your check book.

Anonymous said...



Rumor has it Cappucci's son is qualified, however he was not the best qualified candidate of all applicants for the position!

E. T. Gillen said...

A couple of things. Elaine's son was there for three years. He is the assistant football coach at the high school.
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

I should have added that he is the assistant football coach where the million dollar toxic turf practice field is going.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

From The Almanac-
"Taxes in the Mt. Lebanon School District could be on the rise once again after a proposed preliminary budget was approved at the Jan. 16 school board meeting.
The proposed budget includes $98.9 million in expenditures, which would raise the school property tax rate next year to 24.76 mills; an increase of .83 mills over the current rate.

"Being that proposed budget is over the state’s Act 1 index, which limits the district to an increase of no more than 2.5 percent, it could have to seek exceptions from the state Department of Education."

"One of those exceptions would be for the expected increase in state pension funding, raising the district’s tax rate by approximately .30 mills. The other exception would be for special education costs."

"The final budget does not need to be improved until the end of June."

So apparently, the district can't live within its means as defined under Act 1. But the board is apparently OK with adding another million dollars of debt to artificially turf another MTL athletic field.

Would this be a conflict of interest for Ms. Cappucci if she were once again a school director? What a dilemma, turf a field or fund special ed within the budget... what would she do, what would she do?

Past history suggest she'd do what she's done before, blow the cap and raise taxes.

If that's what Mt. Lebanon wants, let her, Birks and Remely win once again.

E. T. Gillen said...

I hear that there is a third running mate. Dan Remely. This is based on an anonymous email I received this afternoon.

Ms. Gillen -
Regarding your most recent blog post:

You may want to try and confirm Ms. Cappucci's running mates for Lebo School Board. Rumor has it her ticket includes herself, Ms. Birks AND the only Republican (in name only, I might suggest) Mr. Remely...

Thank you for your efforts.
- A reader

Richard Gideon said...

I want to know who first proposed a $20,000 bonus for Dr. Steinhauer; and when. The minutes of the Discussion Session of 13 June 2016 only state that "...the Board will consider and take action on the award..." at the "Regular Board Meeting" of 20 June 2016. It stretches credulity to think that Ms. Cappucci was responsible for it, given that she knew her son was an applicant for a teaching position and that she was going to resign the next month. She must have known that such a course of action on her part would be bone-headed and smack of collusion. All the same, the proposal to give Dr. S a $20,000 gift didn't materialize out of the air; someone had to advance the idea. Even though Ms. C skipped the Regular Board Meeting, she did attend the Discussion Session held the week before, so she would know; and so would the rest of the Board.

The Board would be wise to come clean on this issue.

Anonymous said...

I heard there are four running on the same slate card.
Cappucci, Birks, Remely and one other.

I wonder what there Campaign slogan will be?

"We'll build the best damn district YOUR MONEY can buy!"

or and I like this one best

"There is absolutely no limit to what we can spend your money on!"

Anonymous said...

Collusion is a felony under Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Conviction can result in both fines and jail-time (at the discretion of the court).

E. T. Gillen said...

Oh, the Timmy memes I could come up with...

If the three of them are running together, then we already know how Dan Remely and Mary Birks would vote on the nepotism policy.

I agree with Richard Gideon. It might be time for the rest of the school board directors to come clean. A felony? OMG!
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

Terms up at the end of this year:

Mary Birks
Bill Moorhead
Elaine Cappucci's replacement- Stephen Strotmeyer
Dan Remely
Mike Riemer

Is the fourth running mate of Cappucci, Birks, and Remely listed above?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Just heard that four incumbents were running together and that they were all incumbents.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of wild speculation going on here... like the anonymous poster who heard "rumors" that he wasn't the most qualified candidate. If a felony was committed, that is one thing, but there is no real evidence of that- something we all should remember.

Anonymous said...

To the person who asked about the timing of him wanting to leave Trinity being the same time as a Mt. Lebo position opening up, this isn't a coincidence i'm sure. However, not in the way you are suggesting. This teacher, who graduated from Lebo, wanted to come back to his home school. What's wrong with that? Teachers know when positions open up, that's not private information. It's not that he "wanted to leave Trinity," more that he wanted to come back to Mt Lebanon, his home school, when a position opened up. Can you fault him for that? If he was genuinely qualified for the position, why shouldn't he be allowed to take it?

Anonymous said...

3:49, there's nothing wrong with anyone wanting to come back to Mt. Lebanon.
You obviously missed the point.
I'm told that there are hundreds of applications to teach in MTL every year and it's probably a good chance that those applicants are extremely qualified and hopefully we hired the best candidate and it wasn't because his mom was a school board director or because he was a native son.
It is the timing that is suspicious.
Surely, he knew and his mother knew his hiring could be a conflict of interest. That's why she resigned.
So the question becomes, why was he applying while his mom was a director?
And if his mom knew it was his desire to teach in MTL, why didn't she leave the board three, two or one year ago.
Add in Steinhauers bonus timing/raise, Cappucci's resignation date (she didn't know her son wanted to teach here?) and her son's last day at Trinity and first day at Lebo and there's plenty of reason to wonder.

As to whether he was the best applicant, how could we judge without seeing the others' qualifications and credentials?

Anonymous said...

Talking about different meanings, 4:19.

I found your closing interesting, "...why shouldn't he be allowed to 'take it'!."

I guess one could wonder if 'he took it' because his mom was on the school board.

E. T. Gillen said...

I don't believe this has anything to do with Elaine's son. I wish him all the best.
This is all about Elaine Cappucci and Tim Steinhauer. I also believe that the three incumbents, whoever they are, who are running with Elaine need to decide if they want to go down with her. It doesn't look good, even if no felony was committed. Just the suggestion of wrong doing is enough to make people think.
Elaine

Richard Gideon said...

Elaine is correct: this is not about Ms. Cappucci's son or his abilities. This is about a series of events that a reasonable person might take to have the APPEARANCE of impropriety. That does not mean that anyone broke any law, as far as is known. But looking at the record what does one see: in the course of two months we have a bonus, a resignation, and a hiring. Coincidence? Perhaps. Do those events violate the nepotism policy? Technically no, because Ms. Cappucci resigned before her son was hired. And once again let state that I have a hard time believing Ms. Cappucci would be a party to a quid pro quo. But I doubt that anyone would be discussing this now if Ms. Cappucci had not decided to reclaim her seat on the Board.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, Richard.

Anonymous said...

Relax, 4:30. If it makes you feel better to take half a sentence out of context and twist the wording, you do that. I agree with Elaine and RG, debate and investigate connections between Elaine and Dr. S all you'd like, and if something is wrong I will be the first to call out the corruption, but I get annoyed with people trying to throw a young guy who just wanted to teach and coach at his home school in the mud, calling him unqualified and assuming that he must not have any merit to teach- just because a relative was involved with the school. Doesn't it say something that he wants to contribute to the establishment where he received his education? My point would be, nepotism and favoritism should certainly be prevented.. but also not at the unreasonable expense of others' goals and aspirations.

Anonymous said...

5:58, I too agree with Elaine and Richard, especially Richard's suggestion that had Elaine resigned and left it as that this post would have never occurred in the first place.
We'd have in all likelihood a good teacher and assistant coach and if anything was saidat all it wouldn't amount to much more than the old adage "it's not what you know, but who you know." Everybody knows that goes on all the time in almost every industry.

It's the fact that Cappucci is returning, couple with the generous Steinhauer raise and bonus and the possibility of future conflicts with board decisions like turf, coach contracts, etc., etc. It looks odd and you cannot escape the fact that there will be issues before the board that could be construed as a conflict.

Having said all that, I fully expect Cappucci, Birks, and Remely to all get re-elected, so don't sweat it.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Cappucci's son was hired in August of 2016 and nothing's been said about him or hiring proves Mr. Gideon's point.

Cappucci and her running mates brought this on themselves. It looks bad and it will create issues down the road.

Anonymous said...

5:58, young Cappucci won't have to "coach at his home school in the mud."

His mom and her running mates will probably agree to artificially turf the practice field for a million dollars! 🤣

Anonymous said...

May I summarize?

Elaine Cappucci resigns from the school board because she doesn't want to create an appearance of impropriety as her son applies for a job in the district. Her son gets the job. Ms. Cappucci decides to run again for the school board now that the hiring decision is made.

And this blog post with its 72 comments is not able to unearth any evidence whatsoever of any collusion or impropriety. Zilch. Nil. And the tinfoils here are talking about felonies?

Ms. Cappucci has given the voters the chance to decide if there is an ongoing or substantive conflict of interest. If I was to hazard a guess, I would say that this blog's opposition will give Ms. Cappucci her biggest margin of victory yet; this site seems to influence the public to behave in diametric opposition to the author's intention.

Anonymous said...

I've just finished reading this whole thread. Here are my two cent's worth.

1) I do know that there are four people running together. From what I've heard three incumbents and one newcomer. Two Rs and two Ds.

2) A little bi-partisanship couldn't hurt in Mt. Lebanon. I think this is a good thing.

3) Ms. Cappucci was a conscientious school board member. I have no problem electing her again. Some have mentioned she'll win due to name recognition. I think it's more likely she'll win because people like what she's done.

4) From what I've heard the only Republicans running are running with Elaine Cappucci--a well known Democrat. This shows she must be doing something right to have such a wide tent. Where are the Republicans? I see outrage from the right side of the party, but the more centrist side is running WITH Ms. Cappucci.

5) It appears that the Democratic Party will have three candidates. The two Democrats who aren't running on the bi-partisan ticket plus Aviva Diamond.

Anonymous said...

5:58, can you assure us that there were no other equally qualified MTL alumni that would've have loved to come home and teach here that weren't consider?

As I wrote earlier, Cappucci resigned from the board and for almost a full school year no one questioned the hire. But, the quick turn about with her run for the board again raises some eyebrows and IMO opinion those questions are jusstified.

Can you assure us that should the board have to decide say reducing the budget for the athletic department which might force her son to be cut as coach that Ms. Cappucci would be completely objective in her decision?

I'll be honest, I don't think I could and I'm not confident that anyone, including Ms. Cappucci could either. I'm pretty sure that's why we have ethics and conflict of interest rules.

E. T. Gillen said...

Good morning, 7:07 AM. You forgot to include your usual "jump the shark" catchphrase. I bet you're glad that I didn't take your side about the student parking issue.

7:12 AM, would you mind listing all the names on the tickets, besides Aviva Diamond?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

7:12, I appreciate that you are such a good cheerleader for Ms. Cappucci and her team. Sadly, I also think you may be right that her ticket will win, but with caveats.

I'm not so sure Ms. Cappucci's decisions were as popular as you suggest.

4,000+ people signed a petition requesting to reduce the expense of the high school project.

A number of people opposed the "newcomers tax" and the expenditures for the Capital Campaign.

A number of people oppose artificially turfing the practice field at a cost of $1,000,000. Many believe that the recovery of the practice field should have been in the original HS renovation bid.

A number of environmentalist global warming alarmist oppose the the district's growing carbon footprint that will add about $45,000 annually to the electric bill thru air conditioning.

A number of people wonder where the tennis courts are and how much they will costs outside the renovation bid.

So, 7:12 not everyone is enthralled with Cappucci and her running mates as you suggest.

If we get a clear look at some of the above points things could change drastically.

Will those people mount an effort to oppose her or even show up at the polls, I don't know. After all this is a very strange election cycle, everyone thought Clinton was a shoe in as well.

E. T. Gillen said...

7:12 AM, so there are three Democrats running against Elaine Cappucci and company? Things aren't as good as you think, 7:07 AM. There are Democrats out there who disagree with you.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

7:12, also forgot to add that a number of people were upset with the superintendent's $20,000 bonus and huge pay raise.

Something else to consider, the board is crying about the budget and are looking to exceed their Act 1 cap on a tax increase. The board is blaming that need primarily on the pension fund crisis. It will be interesting to see where Cappucci and team stand on pension reform. Historically, the incumbents and Cappucci have blamed the crisis entirely on the governors and state legislators while absolving themselves of any responsibility.

I hope taxpayers realize that pay raises OK'd by the school directors have a big impact on future pension obligations (conflict for Cappucci because a close relative will benefit from those salary decisions made today) and that whether we bear the tax load of funding pensions locally or in Harrisburg it all comes out of our wallets.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully those 3 democrats are cross filing like Cappucci, Birks and Remely.

Anonymous said...

The name Katie Caste is circulating as a potential candidate for the school board so I am told!! Supposedly she is on the ticket with Cappucci!!

Anonymous said...

If there is anyone out there that considers them self a fiscal conservative with an interest in education this might be the best opportunity to have an impact locally because it looks like a big field and it won't take a helluva lot of votes to win a spot on the board.

Anonymous said...

What is it with some of you complaining about putting AC in the schools? It's needed badly... You try sitting in one of those classrooms. I'm all for being conservative with money, but something are just needed...

E. T. Gillen said...

Please, let's not go off topic. This is about Elaine Cappucci running for school board.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Elaine, sorry to disagree, but 5:52's question and it is a good one is about Cappucci and her decisions as a director. It's a good question for all the candidates.

5:52, kids have been sitting in those classrooms for 50 years and they did it wearing long pants and more formal dresses. (Check out Gwyn Cready's examination of 60s Lebo on Lebomag.com) Today kids wear shorts, light weight t-shirts, flip flops.

Furthermore, these kids you're so intent on protecting from stifling temperatures will be dismissed and go to after school activities on artificially turfed fields and practice fields where temperatures can easily reach 110° or more.

Think about the district's schizophrenic agenda of educating our kids about global warming, and making them responsible for reducing their carbon footprints and reducing waste.

What's the agenda here.
Keeping kids comfortable, protecting them and the environment/water from things like used tires, plastics, global warming or are we trying to expose them to all those things as fast as possible?

It takes huge amounts of power to cool a school, that power comes from somewhere whether it's coal-fired, gas generated or nuclear. All have impacts on the environment.

Our artificial turf uses tire rubber which the EPA doesn't allow us to dump anywhere, but here in Lebo we'll let our kids play and bake on it.

So it is an important issue and should be considered when electing a school board member that's wants to raise taxes to pay for it all.

E. T. Gillen said...

6:24 PM, I knew you would disagree. This is about Elaine Cappucci having a conflict of interest with her son being a Mt. Lebanon school teacher and assistant football coach. This is about her son getting hired after Timmy got an obscenely high pay raise and a $20,000 bonus FOR DOING HIS JOB! I am not publishing any more comments about AC. Save it for when we are discussing that topic.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Are there details in the superintendent's contact that guarantee a bonus if certain conditions are met? Incentive bonuses are pretty common.

Hell, regular yearly bonuses are pretty common, even "FOR DOING [A] JOB." I'd wager more than half of Lebo gets a regular yearly bonus as part of a normal pay package. But if you're looking for pitchfork material, I don't want harsh your mellow.

Anonymous said...

6:40 most bonus programs that I've experienced (at least in the private sector) are based upon the bottom line. While Dr. Steinhauer's individual performance may or may not be deserving of a bonus, the district's bottom line is not!
That is proven by the board's need to exceed the state's Act 1 limits on higher taxes.

But hey they're short on their pension obligations, over budget on the HS renovation, that doesn't matter. The CEO and all his executives will get their bonuses because they can balance the budget by raising taxes through exemptions and exclusions. The CEO (superintendent) can't fail or even have a mediocre year.

Anonymous said...

"The Mt. Lebanon School District has proposed a preliminary budget that would raise the school property tax rate next year to 24.76 mills, an increase of 0.83 mills, if approved."

"The state’s Act 1 index limits the district to a tax increase of no more than 2.5 percent — or a new tax rate of 24.5282 mills.
Because the proposed budget is 0.2318 mills over that cap, the district is expected to seek exemptions from the state Department of Education for pension and special education costs." — Pgh Post Gazette

The Super missed his numbers! Hardly a stellar performance worthy of a large bonus.

Anonymous said...

6:40, the district has been through 4 or is it five, superintendents since Dr. Smartschan.
District performance statistics (test scores, grad rates, district ratings) have been pretty much consistent superintendent to superintendent.

What hasn't been consistent and far outpaces every economic measurement from the inflation rate to CPI is the district's annual budget.

So please tell us 6:40, what performance benchmarks justifies this Super's lucrative bonus?

Keep in mind he was recently given an extra year of vacation and his raises have been consistently higher than the average workers. ( Over the entire 34-year period between 1979 and 2013, the hourly wages of middle-wage workers (median-wage workers who earned more than half the workforce but less than the other half) were stagnant, rising just 6 percent—less than 0.2 percent per year. 6:40, you made the comparison to the commonality of bonuses, how about pay raises?)

The question remains, did the Super give a very friendly board member's kid preferential consideration and will that be an issue going forward?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know... did Dr. Smartshan or any other MTL Superintendent ever get a bonus?

Anonymous said...

I would think his contract should be public knowledge, perhaps a RTK needs to be filed to see his contract? FYI Everyone is replaceable .
I think the Super is over paid. The $20,000 bonus is a slap in the face to all Mt. Lebanon Residents that pay his ridiculous salary.
Not to mention how little TEACHERS and ADMINISTRATION pay for health care. The boards function is not to Serve the superintendent
I see several board members using the position to better themselves and their families. I don't think any private sector position would give anyone a bonus based on the LACK of achievement this superintendent has shown Mt. Lebanon!

Anonymous said...

Let's review.

High school project completed on time... NO!
High school project on budget... NO!
2017-18 Budget under Act 1 limits... NO!
Practice field restored to original condition.... NO!
Tennis courts installed... NO!
Rifle range issue resolved... NO!
Student parking a non-issue... NO!
$6 million Capital Campaign a success in 5 years... NO!

MTLSD rated #1 W. PA District... NO!

So what was the Super bonus for... being there???

For that matter why re-elect the incumbent school directors?

E. T. Gillen said...

10:26 AM, Timmy's contract was posted here on Lebo Citizens. https://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/2013/09/69-increase-for-timmy.html

The amendment to his contract was also published here. http://www.mtlsd.org/uploaded/District/Contracts/MTL_Supt._Amendments_to_Contract_6.20.16.pdf

Another comment to follow.
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

The Cappucci * Remely * Birks* and the fourth on that ticket is definitely the Timmy Ticket.

Remely stated that they have to do everything they can to keep Timmy in the PG's June 24, 2016 article by a real reporter at the PG, Janice Crompton. Mt. Lebanon school board OKs raise, bonus for superintendent

Timmy HAS TO GO!
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Oh wait, forgot a big one 11:06!

Reduced the district's electric bill and carbon footprint.... Noooooooooooooo!

For all you earth mothers and out there not paying attention.

The Super does, I'm told by a select group of the kiddies, throw one helluva pizza lunch. That's deserves a bonus.

Anonymous said...

From your link Elaine:

"Mr. Remely said the district has to do whatever is necessary to hold on to Mr. Steinhauer, who was hired in 2009 at a rate of $140,000 per year. He cited a current shortage of superintendents in the state and said the cost of a new superintendent search could top $100,000.

“There is a serious shortage,” said Mr. Remely, who has seen the job turn over four times since he was elected in 2006. “Many would like to take [Mr. Steinhauer] from us and they would pay well over $200,000 for that job.”"

So, in 8 years Remely and friends have raised Dr. Steinhauer's Compensation to $200,000+ because he's afraid of a $100,000 replacement search?!

Mr. Remely has seen the Superintendent position turn over four times, did he ever see a stutter in district performance during those four turnovers? So why the fear of losing another one?

Don't we have an assistant superintendent that in 2016 is making the same amount as Steinhauer's started at? Can't see move up and we bring along another assistant? Apparently we love hiring alumni, why not advance homegrown administrators?

"The board unanimously approved... ... performance raises for assistant superintendents Marybeth Irvin and Ronald Davis. The salaries for Mr. Davis and Ms. Irvin for the 2015-16 school year were $139,055 and $122,127, respectively."

On top of that why are there two assistant's, Smartschan overseeing a much larger student population had one assistant!

Anonymous said...

Don't overlook Steinhauer got a private bathroom as well!

Hmmm, I wonder, if I self-identity as a superintendent will he have to share it? 😂

Anonymous said...

No news here. Ms. Cappucci's mother was a teacher for Mount Lebanon.

E. T. Gillen said...

Wait. What? When Elaine Cappucci was on the school board?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Interesting nepotism case. Similar to Superintendent showed 'appearance of nepotism' by hiring son of school board member

http://www.tribdem.com/news/auditor-general-greater-johnstown-showed-appearance-of-nepotism-by-hiring/article_8c2ce6fc-c2ea-11e6-bd62-e7aa800619c4.html

Anonymous said...

I took a look at the story referenced in the link provided by 2:58pm and found this section troubling and familiar: "“The board threatened to arrest and sue me for slander when I asked about President Unger’s daughter’s job and the payoff,” John DeBartola, a local resident who has frequently confronted the board about alleged nepotism within the district, said in a text message to The Tribune-Democrat.

“I was called a ‘threat,’ that this board is determined to get even,” DeBartola said. “And that this audit proves they have problems they are trying to hide from the voters, that they are an arrogant and corrupt board and should consider resigning.”"

If you do a little digging (news media readers - PAY ATTENTION!) you'll find examples of this kind of thing across Pennsylvania - probably in other states as well. It is proof beyond refutation that school districts are the 500lb gorilla in the room. More than municipal governments, school districts intimidate, threaten, and in some cases use violence (again, search the net) against taxpayers, and they get away with it most of the time because they control children and control huge sums of money - often more money than the towns in which they exist. Parents are reluctant to confront school boards and school officials for fear of retaliation against their children. And as far as the money is concerned; well, money talks and nobody walks. You can obtain fine legal counsel and the best judges money can buy when you have the cash for it. I once was a big supporter of our public schools, but now I'm thinking that some of the bloggers who have argued against the system as it now exits are right, and for what it's worth (not much, I'm afraid) I intend to let my representatives know it.

Publis

E. T. Gillen said...

My youngest graduated from Mt. Lebanon in 2009. I waited until 2010 to start my blog and website. Now you know why, Publis.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

5:22 PM: More like an "elephant in the room!"

Anonymous said...

Why is the Superintendent paid the same salary as the Governor of Pennsylvania? Is a $200,000 compensation justified for nonequivalent responsibilities? I thought the governor had more responsibility, and in this case certainly more education, than the Mt. Lebanon Superintendent.

E. T. Gillen said...

8:10 PM, because the Timmy ticket made it all possible. Cappucci, Birks, and Remely. But Timmy has another increase coming to him this summer. The sky's the limit, right?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Mr. Remely, Ms. Birks, and most of Ms. Cappucci, even though he hired your son, if Dr. S can find a $200,000 position with another district let him take it!
The MTLSD survived before he got here and it will survive long after he's gone.

Anonymous said...

Mike Riemer's wife, Katie, works at Jefferson Middle School as a Student Aide. How come there is no outrage about that conflict of interest. Check out the Faculty/Staff list on the Jefferson page of the district website.

E. T. Gillen said...

Thank you for sharing that. I had no idea! Any other relatives we need to know about?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

9:51, how long has Riemer's wife been a student aide? Was she in that position before or after he was a director?

It could be a problem regardless if it becomes necessary to reduce staff. If anyone remembers, several years ago the board wanted to cut a beloved student aid at the high school to balance the.budget. A concerted effort lead by the students saved the aid from the ax.

Should cuts come up again Riemer could have a conflict if he lobbied to save aides from any budget cuts.

Anonymous said...

Publis, you may really get upset after viewing this video on the NEA's top lawyer's retirement speech.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-piPkgAUo0w&sns=em