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Pizzella joins tech committee

He will replace James Height, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

PLAINS TWP. - The Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center Joint Operating Committee welcomed Frank Pizzella on Monday as the replacement for James Height, who recently pleaded guilty to corruption charges and resigned from his post.

The committee also named Maryanne Toole to replace Height as chairperson.

The committee is made up of representatives from each of the five school districts that send students to it, with the number of representatives determined by the percent of total enrollment that district provides. Since Wilkes-Barre Area sends the most students to the center, it also has the most representatives on the committee.

Toole and Pizzella are both from Wilkes-Barre Area, as is Brian Dunn, who technically still sits on both the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board and the Career and Technical Center Joint Operating Committee, though he has not attended meetings for months. He has also been charged in the federal corruption probe. Mike McGinley sat in for Dunn at the meeting.

The committee named Greater Nanticoke Area representative Bob Raineri as treasurer.

Pizzella used his new position to push for a change in how the committee does business. When the board moved to award insurance policies for the upcoming school year to the Joyce Insurance Group for a total of $137,934, Pizzella asked if it had been put out for bid. When told no, he asked if bids had been sought through advertising. The answer was also no.

Toole suggested the item be tabled and the insurance put out for bid, but was told the policies lapse at the end of this month and that there was no time for a bidding process. Pizzella suggested it be put out for bid next year and most members agreed. Pizzella then voted no on the item.

The board also voted to approve a request by the Center’s Capstone Coordinator, Sean Moran, to attend a conference at Seven Springs, Pa. Wilkes-Barre Area Representative Joe Moran abstained. Sean is his son, Toole said.

Also, the board appointed Patricia Maloney and Jody Olenginski as full-time instructors in the practical nursing program. Toole said both have worked at the center part-time for several years.

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