The Examiner

Ex-Mt. Pleasant School Trustee Write-in Candidate for Board of Ed

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A former Mount Pleasant school trustee has launched a write-in campaign in hopes of being elected to a seat in the district’s Board of Education race on Tuesday.

John Piazza, who served one term on the board from 2006 to 2009, made the  surprising decision to enter the fray this week questioning the motives of two of the four candidates on the ballot as well as their lack of experience.

According to a press release issued on Thursday by a group called Mount Pleasant Residents in Support of Our Mount Pleasant Schools, Piazza is making the effort because there is “large concern in the community” that surfaced following a recent candidate’s night at Westlake High School.

“There have been questions raised as to their private agendas for these seats on the school board,” the release stated.

It also references the bond issues that were soundly defeated twice earlier this school year and that “many in the Mount Pleasant Schools are coming together to improve the sense of community in the town.”

While the material released by the group does not directly mention which candidates raise the group’s concern, it does say that it supports incumbent Thomas McCabe and Colleen Scaglione Neglia for the board and backs passage of the district’s budget. Also on the ballot for three seats are Peter Peale and Catherine Tully.

Current board President James Grieco and Trustee Vincent D’Ambroso decided against seeking re-election.

Piazza, a Valhalla resident and a general contractor, did not return telephone messages late this week.

While McCabe and Scaglione Neglia also did not return messages, Peale said he questioned why Piazza entered the race so late, although he acknowledged he had the right to pursue the seat as a write-in candidate.

However, Peale pointed to an audit by the state comptroller’s office which found that more than $250,000 in credit card purchases were made by district employees in violation of school board policy while Piazza had served on the board.

The audit, which was conducted by the state comptroller’s office, examined district finances between July 1, 2007, and Dec. 2, 2008.

Peale said Piazza and other district officials never explained to the public what happened to the thousands of dollars charged on the credit cards.

The Westchester County District Attorney’s office investigated the matter in 2009, but found no evidence that crimes were committed.

Tully briefly commented on Piazza’s write-in candidacy, saying,” I think it is great that someone else has decided to get involved.”

The election and budget vote will be held this Tuesday, May19 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Westlake High School.

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