February 15, 2019 11:11 PM
ONTARIO, N.Y. (WHEC)- The Wayne Central School District has offered signs it would give the public more information about two members of the school system’s board in danger of removal from the board over misconduct accusations.
On Wednesday, February 20, school officials planned to hold a special meeting to consider revealing information previously discussed behind closed doors about the charges against board members Steve Gallaher and Dennis Landry. Both were accused of “official misconduct.”
“They were blindsided. They were very surprised," said James Cole, an attorney retained by both Gallaher and Landry.
“This was nothing that they would have expected, given what the circumstances were surrounding the allegations.”
According to reports in the Sun & Record/Wayne County Mail newspaper, most of the charges stem from an incident on September 6, 2018 when Landry and Gallaher visited the now-empty Freewill Elementary School, got into the building and triggered an alarm, bringing in the New York State Police who investigated and found no wrongdoing.
School officials declined to offer any details about the allegations but indicated some of the details might be made public through the Wednesday meeting.
Statements and responses to Frequently Asked Questions on the school district website emphasized “the Board of Education has not made any determination as to whether it will remove any of its Board members,” and said “The Board is committed to ensuring that all members follow through with its expectations and adhere to New York State laws.”
Cole insisted comparable episodes involving other school leaders didn’t bring as harsh a response.
“This incident will ultimately be found to be very similar to a number of other incidents that have happened throughout the state and those board members were not removed,” he said.
Cole also pointed at the lengthy period between the incident in September and the time of the board’s decision and again questioned the appropriateness of trying to remove the two members from the board.
“If these were such serious allegations of official misconduct,” he asked, “why would the district want to have these schoolboard members continue on the board for 6-7 months while these investigations are going on.”
A hearing for Gallaher was scheduled for February 25. A hearing for Landry was scheduled for March 11.
Updated: February 15, 2019 11:11 PM
Created: February 15, 2019 10:43 PM
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