Hamburg School District officials are still trying to contact Superintendent Richard E. Jetter, who was placed on administrative leave last week after admitting that he, not vandals, damaged his car.
Board President David M. Yoviene said he has tried contacting the superintendent, and the district’s lawyer, Andrew J. Freedman of Hodgson Russ, said he has tried contacting an attorney who may be representing Jetter. Neither has called back, they said.
“We’re hoping for a resignation,” Freedman said.
Jetter was admitted to BryLin Hospitals, a district source said, after he admitted to Hamburg village police July 21 that he had sideswiped a pole in Buffalo. Earlier, he reported to police and to the community that vandals had struck his car in a school parking lot during a School Board meeting.
Yoviene and Freedman said that they do not know where the superintendent is but that they are trying to contact him.
“We’d like to get Rick’s story and also know that he’s OK,” Freedman said.
Yoviene has sent the superintendent a letter, according to Freedman, who said he has called a lawyer he heard was representing Jetter.
“The district is looking to make a clean break as quickly and as swiftly as it can,” Freedman said. “The Board of Education believes it deserves that from the superintendent.”
If the district cannot reach an agreement with Jetter to resign, it is willing to terminate him for cause under his contract. Jetter would be entitled to 60 days’ notice of a hearing, where a hearing officer would make a final decision. But since Jetter is getting paid his salary of $3,150 per week while on leave, district officials would like him to leave the payroll as soon as possible. “If we’re forced to go to a hearing, we’re confident that we would achieve termination,” Freedman said. “We would hope that the superintendent realizes that this isn’t in the best interests of the district.”
The district also may file a separate complaint with the state Education Department that could result in the revocation of Jetter’s superintendent’s certificate under the state’s disciplinary procedures that cover violations of standards of moral character.
Under state law, the board and the superintendent of Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services are to refer to the state any information that a superintendent “has been convicted of a crime, or has committed an act which raises a reasonable question as to the individual’s moral character.”
“We are looking at that at this point,” said Lynda M. Quick, interim district superintendent for Erie 1 BOCES.
Quick said she notified the state about Jetter being placed on administrative leave.
Freedman said that the district still is researching that matter but that if a Part 83 complaint is required, the district or the Erie 1 BOCES superintendent would file it.
He also said the district has shared information with the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and is “working cooperatively” with the office “to figure out exactly what is going on.”
Meanwhile, Freedman said, district administrators, teachers and staff are working hard to prepare for the opening or school in just over a month.
“The kids really are our No. 1 focus,” he said.