Board member calls on Hamburg Supt. to resign

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – Catherine Schrauth Forcucci, an embattled Hamburg School board member charged with official misconduct, held a news conference at her attorney’s office Wednesday where she called on Superintendent Dr. Richard Jetter to resign and relinquish his license to the State Education Department.

Police say Jetter admitted that he had been in an accident and lied about the crash, claiming it was vandalism. He now faces charges of filing a false police report and is also being investigated by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.

Forcucci’s attorney Margaret Murphy says if Jetter resigns and loses his certification, his contract with the district would be terminated, and it would avoid costly hearings and delays in naming a new interim superintendent.

“He needs to take responsibility,” said Murphy, “and realize (that) for him to walk into another school district is sending the wrong message.”

It has now been revealed that Jetter’s contract takes the decision of whether to terminate him out of the hands of the board, and leaves it up to a hearing officer. Even if further charges are filed by the district attorney’s office, he would still be entitled to a hearing under the terms of his current contract.

Forcucci initially opposed the hiring of Jetter. She says she objected because the board had little time to review the terms and consider other candidates.

Jetter’s attorney Terry Connors has said his only concern for his client right now are his health and well being. He will not discuss whether negotiations have begun regarding Jetter’s position with the district.

Forcucci faces charges of official misconduct and will testify Saturday on her own behalf. She said she may have done things differently, regarding her reaction to issues, but has no regrets speaking out on behalf of all the stakeholders in the Hamburg School District.

School Board President Dave Yoviene, who has testified against Forcucci, says he was not impressed with comments her comments and those of her attorney. He had been a major supporter of Dr. Jetter.

“It just looked like they were grandstanding,” said Yoviene.

He said the district’s lawyers and BOCES are already addressing questions regarding Dr. Jettter’s future. Yoviene says he would be happy enough if Jetter just resigns.

Tuesday night board members went into executive session during their search to replace Superintendent Dr. Richard Jetter, who has been placed on leave.

Board members said they are working as quickly as possible to find a replacement but don’t want to rush the decision. After about two hours in executive session, board members adjourned. They said they have three or four strong candidates to fill the head spot. There will be more meetings to narrow down the options.

Board members have different views on the question, and a frustrated Forcucci left a Tuesday night board meeting in tears. She admits her passion sometimes gets the best of her. Looking back at some of her emotional reactions to board issues she said, “If I had a chance to do things differently, yes, of course I would.”

Board President Youviene said the hearings against Forcucci will go to completion. When asked if he feels she is capable of changing her behavior, he said, “Oh, absolutely not. She could never change.”

Forcucci is expected to be the last to testify this Saturday.