Short-Lived Wantagh Superintendent Lands New Job

Phil D'Angelo begins new role as superintendent of Millbrook Central School District in Westchester County after being placed on leave from Wantagh in September.

After his time as Wantagh superintendent was short-lived, Phil D'Angelo has landed a similar role in a Westchester County district. 

D'Angelo, who was placed on leave by the Wantagh Board of Education on Sept. 14 after less than three months on the job, was appointed by the Millbrook Central School District Board of Education to take on its superintendent duties starting Jan. 1. Prior to his short stint in Wantagh, D'Angelo had previously worked as a superintendent in Warsaw and Skaneateles N.Y. 

When announcing D'Angelo's leave, Wantagh Board of Education President Michael Cucci did not give a reason for the decision citing a district policy that prohibits commenting on personnel matters. Cucci said at the Dec. 13 school board meeting that a district investigation on D'Angelo had been completed but declined to provide details on it. Cucci also said at the Dec. 13 meeting that the district was continuing to pay D'Angelo's salary in addition to Acting Superintendent Maureen Goldberg. 

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Rob January 10, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Would love to hear what he has to say about it but since we haven't heard from him throughout this I imagine he's under some sort of non-disclosure agreement and won't talk about it...why would he screw with the sweet gig that pays him for doing nothing? BUT maybe once we stop forking over our tax dollars to him maybe he'd open up a bit - How about it Andrew? Can we get a comment from Mr. D'Angelo???
Lorraine DeVita January 10, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Some additonal costs you might want to inquire about : Current and future litigation costs(are they covered under you contract with your legal firm) including addtional payouts if neccessary. Cost to replace or backfill the principal position that was vacated when your temp sup moved up to to fill the spot left open by D'angelo. Increase if any in Temp Sups salary and benefits . Reimbursement of HeadHunting fee if paid or if held liable to pay based on the reason this happened. Obviously these were not included nor anticipated in your current approved budget so where is all this money coming from and how will it impact your district financialy now and in the future?
Chris Wendt January 10, 2013 at 04:16 PM
@ Diane M re: "Maybe (someone) should contact Mr. D'Angelo for comment...then we would learn what the allegation the BOE made against him is." What if the answer was: "I have no idea." @ Lorraine DeVita re: "...these were not included nor anticipated in your current approved budget so where is all this money coming from...." Good and valid question and certainly not covered by confidentiality. There is a bottom line to all of this intrigue, which is that the Wantagh Board of Education has spent an incredible amount of taxpayer money due to Superintendent turnover, going all the way back to 4 Superintendents to when Lydia Begley left to join BOCES. Let's watch the revolving door at the Wantagh Administrative Offices: Superintendents: Begley March Bonuso D'Angelo Goldberg Plus two assistant Superintendents, an Athletic Director. some football coaches, and a Middle School Principal. I am sure each one of these turnover events had a unique story for public consumption. However, I suspect there may be one common thread that is not being talked about, openly, in public. I think this will be an issue for the 2013-14 school board election campaign.
Rob January 10, 2013 at 04:27 PM
It's embarrassing to the town and certainly wreaks of something that needs to be addressed. Have any other districts had this type of turnover at such a high-level position?
Wantaghborn January 10, 2013 at 05:02 PM
I agree Chris, and it should be a question people ask before voting. However, that said, it is likely the public will never know the particulars of these cases, as the Board may not be legally allowed to speak about them publicly, since each case may have had an NDA as part of the leaving/removal. I am just sad to see my old school district is having this much of a turn-over rate. Something very wrong in having so many leave/be removed from their positions. What the BOE should be asked is what it plans to do in the future to ensure this pattern is not repeated down the line. This seems to be an awful waste of taxpayer's money at a time when Nassau county taxes are already way too high (but then again, when in the past 30 years haven't they been?)
Concerned Taxpayer January 10, 2013 at 05:21 PM
There is a Board of Ed meeting next Thursday, 1/17 at 8:00. I think we all need to go and ask some of these valid and important questions.
Joe January 10, 2013 at 05:49 PM
I did not say moved, I said he traveling man, meaning he completely uprooted and moved and even that is not necessarily a bad thing, but an observation. By the way, this new job is a 4th location.
Mike P January 10, 2013 at 07:06 PM
There are a lot of "concerned residents" now in Wantagh that are asking all of these questions. I'm not sure what if the board realizes it, but they are not going to be able to sweep this under the rug. I myself will be at the board meeting next week and they are going to have to provide some answers. They may keep trying to hide behind the "ongoing investigation" but that is not going to fly. As all public servants they have completely lost sight of the fact that the tax payers are in charge, not them.
Regina January 10, 2013 at 07:48 PM
There is a meeting tonight at 8 pm in the administration building I trust these people with my children and since I know for a fact he was unstable. I want to know why they are still paying him and pushing the truth under the rig I don't think that is a privacy issue They are our children
Chris Wendt January 10, 2013 at 08:15 PM
You may not realize it, but although you do not post under your full real name, you are not anonymous on here. What you think you "know" about someone is opinion until you publish it (in writing, here) as though it were fact, in which case it could be considered libel (libelous defamation).
Regina January 10, 2013 at 08:38 PM
I do not need to be anynomous What I posted on here were all facts that every board member and many from the public were witnesses too. It is not what I think it is what happened. Inuit plain old facts .
Concerned Taxpayer January 10, 2013 at 08:53 PM
For those of you who are interested in the meeting tonight, I called the district office and, yes, there was a revision to the Executive Planning (closed session) session tonight, it was moved to 7 pm, and an open session was added for 8 pm. According to the district office, the agenda item of personnel appointment does not refer to the superintendent position, but a substitute teacher position.
Mike P January 10, 2013 at 09:08 PM
We need complete transparency from the board. While they may have "closed" meetings to discuss things, any transactions, policies and especially expenditures (i.e. severance, contracts) needs to be made public to the tax payers. The residents need to demand transparency and the board should not have a problem with this as it removes any speculation and rumor. If any resident has a question, it should be answered completely and thoroughly in a professional manner. This is not the federal government where there might be national security issues that need to be concealed. These are elected officials and the residents can vote for candidates that they feel will best serve their interests. This may seem idealistic to some people but that is the way the system is supposed to work and it is up to the residents to hold the people they vote for accountable. There is just too much at stake.
Concerned Citizen January 11, 2013 at 02:37 AM
This is a very similar story to the Coach Sachs saga where the BOE refused to discus why they did not renew his contract only to renew it a year later. That was the same night they thanks the Music chairperson for 30+ years of service as he retired only to rehire him 5 minutes later as a band director so he could double dip. We know the BOE does not get paid but that does not mean they can't get fired!!
Mike P January 11, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Chris Wendt January 11, 2013 at 03:30 AM
@ Concerned Citizen re: "According to the district office, the agenda item of personnel appointment does not refer to the superintendent position, but a substitute teacher position." So why didn't the Board include this salient piece of information on the meeting notice? And why could a substitute appointment not have waited one week for the monthly business meeting, when hiring is supposed to be done? We have a large cadre of substitute teachers already approved. What gives?
Lorraine DeVita January 11, 2013 at 01:39 PM
@C Wendt- Isnt there a very clear list of Board of Ed. "Do's and Donts" where it clearly spells out WHAT the board is required and not required to do? Perhaps someone should bring it to the next Wantagh BOE meeting and hand it to them.. similiar to http://www.nyssba.org/clientuploads/nyssba_pdf/LegalOMLPresentations09.pdf
Mitch January 11, 2013 at 03:22 PM
After the whole MEL situation this guy didn't want anything to do with this town- The bottom line is that MEL, a school employee, made threats about blowing up the school. Had MEL not been MEL and just some other janitor he'd be dismissed immediately and that would be the end of it. I like MEL, I know alot of people do, but firing him was the right thing to do....period. Was bringing him back the right thing to do.....time will tell.
Chris Wendt January 11, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Governing school boards, there are state and federal laws, state regulations; case law including Commissioner's decisions; the bylaws of the district, the policies of the district, and, opinions of counsel and of auditors and of the Office of the Comptroller of the State of New York. Clear list? Not exactly.
Lorraine DeVita January 11, 2013 at 05:43 PM
i shall rephrase: an OUTLINE or GUIDLINE to follow. But the do's and dont ARE defined BY the same references you cited. NYSSBA is ALSO a great reference for BOE's to utilize & which many do not. There is also Cousel who is supposed to be (notice i said "supposed") the go to group when questions/issues arise.
Mike P January 11, 2013 at 05:45 PM
This is a very, very serious revelation. I am not sure of the facts, and I assume that since you posted that this employee did indeed make a threat to blow up the school that you are 100% sure that this happened, then this would be considered a potential terrorist act. Were the police involved and was there an investigation conducted on this threat and what was their conclusion? I know the police take these things very seriously.
Diane M January 11, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Do a search on the patch or wantagh proboards about the Mel situation to learn more. If you have 10 minutes, this is a good video to watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1DKxCV8tWg Pay careful attention to which party (BOE, D'Angelo) did what when. There seems to have been a bit of back & forth, reversal of rash decisions as well as testimony to Mr. D'Angleo being a stand-up guy throughout the Mel situation. The following morning Mr. D'Angelo was suspended with pay and the hire of a special investigator was approved by the BOE to investigate an unspecified allegation.
Mitch January 11, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Hey Mike P...do you live in a cave ? You mean you didn't hear about the Mel situation ? Every news media in NY had this story covered. D'Angelo found himself in a no win situation with this town- By firing the beloved Mel the town would despise him- Not firing Mel, would just be the wrong thing to do. If this town had any brains they'd understand that Mel had to be fired- Our hearts wouldn't want this but our heads must understand that he had to go-
Concerned Taxpayer January 12, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Agreed Chris, and the meeting on Thursday night may have been necessary and legitimate. However, the lack of trust in the school board, especially after recent events, arouses suspicion in everything they do. This is very unfortunate considering how much control they have over our hard earned tax dollars and the education of our children.
old miller January 12, 2013 at 03:00 PM
Isn't it interesting that the two men who were hired from outside of the district, both of whom had stellar reputations by the way, couldn't deal with the way things are done here? That seems to be the pressing issue. When the district hires from within, things usually seem to go somewhat smoother. What is it about the "Wantagh way" that chases people who have had a great deal of success elsewhere away? What goes on behind closed doors in Wantagh UFSD? I suspect that administrators are hired under the auspice that they will be trusted to lead the district, only to later have their leadership quashed by certain members of the school board, some of whom are hanging around the district and building administrative offices on nearly a daily basis.
Rob January 12, 2013 at 03:51 PM
interesting take on the situation Old Miller - I agree...get ready for the deluge of comments saying - "if you think you can do better than you should run for the BOE"...it's the defense of the people close to the BOE or those that like to be on good terms with them. The unfortunate part is that too often the younger parents are not able to dedicate enough time to this effort or when they do step up they're buried under hundreds of lawn signs or pop up ads on the Patch. The job of the BOE is a very important one and it seems to many people that it's a closed group and when outsiders try to break in, or in the case of our Supers are hired in - they are booted out by the insiders when they start trying to implement change. Hopefully this will change at the next election - we'll see.
Lawrence Anderson January 15, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Dirty little secrets is right. Since the taxpayer is the ultimate employer of school personnel, then why are the taxpayers left in the dark? What happened to freedom of information? I say we replace the whole lot (School board) and change the pollicy of keeping secrets. I am sure we can find teachers and administrators that don't have anything to hide.
Lorraine DeVita January 15, 2013 at 07:05 PM
@old miller- what you stating is basicaly pandemic across most LI school districts. I swear its the damn water, when typicaly sane rational people get elected onto a school board they become rather WEIRD. to say the least. Got to be the water or the air pumped into the board rooms or perhpas aliens have snatched the people elected and exchanged alien life forms to replace them. Matter of fact that could explain and support what happens to ALL elected individuals . Once elected aliens snatch em and replace them . the only thing that makes sense.. lmao.. Aliens !
Chris Wendt January 17, 2013 at 10:36 AM
Those are two popular misconceptions: that the taxpayer is the employer of school personnel, and, that the "policy" of keeping secrets could be changed. The School District is the employer of school personnel. The Board of Education is responsible for the Superintendent, the Treasurer, and the District Clerk. Everyone else is the responsibility of the Superintendent who is their boss. Taxpayers elect the Board of Education and pay taxes to operate the schools; they have no control over any school employee. State and Federal laws and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution require confidentiality in matters involving school district employees and students. School districts incorporate those requirements into their policies to comport with the law. The school board cannot change those policies about confidentiality any more than they could change the laws upon which those policies are based.
Lorraine DeVita February 24, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Anything is possible HOWEVER That just doesnt sound like it fits with the series of events or the end result .... Hardly EVER do you PAY an employee to terminate their contract if they have violated Code of Conduct or the law.


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