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Wilson Chosen as Pelham Interim Superintendent

PELHAM, N.Y. – Charlie Wilson, the former superintendent of Pelham schools, will be offered the interim superintendent position today to replace the retiring Dennis Lauro , Pelham Board of Education president Robert Eicher announced at Monday’s meeting.

“Dr. Wilson was very gracious and enabled us time to consider his candidacy for the position,” said Eicher of the board’s discussion. “Tonight, we were able to make that happen, which is – it’s a really good outcome for the community.”

Eicher explained the process in which Wilson became the candidate for the position.

“He was using me as a reference and literally I got Dennis’ resignation like a week or so later – obviously that was an option we wanted to consider,” he said. The board met with Wilson on May 9 and were set to offer him the job today. He had to make a decision on an offer from a school district in Maine by tomorrow, but told Eicher that he would take the Pelham job if it was offered.

Between 1996 and 2008, Wilson was a social studies teacher, a guidance counselor, and the superintendent in Pelham. While each of the seven board members supported the move, Peggy O’Leary, Marianne Gilland, and Lisa Kiernan questioned the selection process. The three, plus newly elected board members Madeline Smith and Michael Recca, wanted to see the process more open to the public.

“While I support the motion, I believe that procedures normally followed were not in this case and reasons may be given, but they do not negate the fact that the process should have been better,” said O’Leary. “I’m saddened that what will ultimately be a beneficial decision made on behalf of the Pelham public schools has to be made under a cloud of mistrust.”

Pelham Board of Education Vice President Martha Arden called Wilson the “perfect candidate for the position” and said to miss out on him as he looked at other positions so that it could be discussed at length would have been “very unfortunate.” Eicher said that he supported their concerns and said after the meeting, “I wish we had the time to sort of lay something out, so it would have been apparent to everybody, but unfortunately we’re not in control of all elements of a hiring process.” The president said that he did not want to pass up the opportunity to obtain Wilson’s services.

“Because then what happens,” asked Eicher. “Then we’ve got someone who doesn’t know Pelham, he comes in, thinks we want to cut cost, we’ve got a crusade, we get sideways with the unions.”

Lauro is retiring on Dec. 31 and Wilson will serve from Jan. 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013. He will be paid $1,000 a day and is not eligible for benefits.

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