HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – After almost five hours of deliberations in executive session, members of the Hamburg School Board voted early Wednesday 5-to-1 to remove embattled member Catherine Schrauth Forcucci from the board.
Before the vote was taken shortly after midnight, a hearing officer found the board was warranted in removing Forcucci.
Hearings have dragged on for months as the board worked to oust Forcucci. Staff described her behavior as “very loud, very hostile, very aggressive.”
Superintendent Dr. Richard Jetter testified that the board member once got so close to him during an argument that he could feel “her spit on my face.”
Jetter is currently on leave from the district and the board has asked him to resign. Jetter allegedly lied about damage to his car, telling police it was the work of vandals but admitting to officers he did it himself the night before. He has since pleaded not guilty.
Despite that development, board president David Yoviene was determined to push forward to remove Forcucci. He described incidents in which she screamed at the top of her lungs.
“The pitch of her voice hurt my ears, she was just relentlessly hysterical. Everybody in that room, when she finally sat down, was so frazzled and just so upset by what they just witnessed and heard that now you’re supposed to have a meeting? It’s late at night and I have to go find Dr. Jetter and his poor wife. You could see how frightened she was,” he said.
When Forcucci testified during the hearings, she admitted being disrespectful to other members, Jetter, and the superintendent’s wife and apologized to the board. But she said she did not feel her actions rose to the level of official misconduct.
The hearing officer disagreed Tuesday, finding her actions were detrimental to the board and finding she engaged in official misconduct.
Jetter’s testimony was found to be unreliable, because of the charges pending against him, but there were enough other witnesses to Forcucci’s actions that the hearing officer found she engaged in official misconduct in 10 of 12 cases.
Forcucci reportedly left Tuesday night’s meeting in tears before the board went into executive session to vote on her fate.
Yoviene said he doesn’t feel Forcucci can change her behavior, which is why he says the board continued the hearings even without Jetter’s presence.
The board has named Dr. Vincent Coppola as acting superintendent.