Site last updated: Saturday, June 25, 2022

Log In

Reset Password
Butler County's great daily newspaper

Vo-tech authority board OKs personnel moves

The Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School Joint Operating Committee approved a number of personnel matters Thursday in advance of the 2020-21 school year.

The committee unanimously voted to hire Susan Angela Smarto as a special education instructor effective Aug. 18 at a salary of $49,950 and hire Derek Laliberte as network technology coordinator effective July 1 at a salary of $43,000.

Tracy Vitale, Seneca Valley School District superintendent, was appointed to serve as superintendent of record from July 1 this year through June 30, 2021, and a two-month advisory term ending Aug. 31, 2021, at a salary of $6,660.

Vitale, who did not attend Thursday's committee meeting, will replace Brian White, Butler Area School District superintendent, who held the position during the 2019-20 school year.

The pay rate for substitute teachers was set at $100 a day with no benefits.

The committee appointed the law firm of Dillon McCandless King Coulter & Graham, the current solicitor, as solicitor for the upcoming school year, but not the 2021-22 or 2022-23 school years.

The firm submitted a proposal for all three years charging $175 an hour for 2020-21, $180 an hour for 2021-22 and $185 an hour for 2022-23, but committee members said they want to consider options for 2021-22 and 2022-23.

Committee member James Nickel of the Seneca Valley School Board, said auditor Mark Turnley was not being considered for a reappointment, but reappointing Dillon McCandless King Coulter & Graham was on the agenda. He asked if a search was conducted to select the solicitor and if the school had a policy for appointing a solicitor.

Regina Hiler, current principal and assistant director who is replacing Kurt Speicher as executive director after he retires June 30, said there is no policy for appointing a solicitor, but recommended keeping Dillon McCandless King Coulter & Graham at least for the upcoming school year because it will be her first year as executive director and the firm was familiar with the school.

Tom Breth, an attorney with the firm who joined the meeting through teleconferencing, said the firm's current three-year contract with the school ends June 30 and the committee is not obligated to approve the new three-year proposal.

“We serve at your pleasure,” Breth said.

Committee member Bill Halle, of the Butler Area School Board, said he is always willing to look at contracts and costs.

Committee Chairman John Conrad, of the Butler Area School Board, said the committee will have to decide how to select a solicitor for 2021-22 and 2022-23.

Committee member Tom Harrison voted against the one-year contract, arguing the law firm is a leader in school legal matters in Pennsylvania and should have been appointed for three years.

Vo-tech authority board

The vo-tech authority board, which obtained financing for construction of the school in 1980, meets annually to review finances, conducted its own meeting Thursday and appointed Dillon McCandless King Coulter & Graham as solicitor for three years and Turnley as auditor for three years.

The law firm was hired at the same rates it proposed to the vo-tech committee and Turnley was appointed to conduct audits in 2021, 2022 and 2023 for $1,200 each year.

The authority also appointed board members, alternates and officers for 2020.

Board members include Jerry Slamecka from the Butler Area School Board, Edwin Conto from the Karns City Area School Board, Gordon Marburger from the Mars Area School Board, Roy Peffer from the Moniteau School Board, Nickel, Jacqueline Pfeiffer from the South Butler County School Board and Dennis Thompson from the Slippery Rock Area School Board.

Marburger was elected chairman, replacing Nickel; Pfeiffer was elected vice chairman, replacing Marburger; Peffer was reelected secretary, Thompson was elected assistant secretary, replacing Pfeiffer; and Conto was elected treasurer, replacing Arthur Bernardi from Butler Area, who is no longer serving on the board.

The Butler Area School Board must appoint someone to replace Bernardi, officials said.

The alternate board members are Jeffery Schnur from Butler Area, Joseph Roudebush from Karns City Area and Richard Meredith from Seneca Valley.