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D'Arcangelo named acting superintendent at Mt. Pleasant

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Franklin Regional School District's former superintendent will take charge of another Westmoreland County district on a temporary basis.

Emery D'Arcangelo was hired as the acting superintendent at Mt. Pleasant Area School District last week until the board finds a permanent replacement for Terry Struble, who retired last month.

“I'm an honest person who will give 110 percent,” said D'Arcangelo, 59, of Somerset. “I will always put the best interests of the students first, and I appreciate the opportunity.”

Mt. Pleasant will pay D'Arcangelo, who retired from Franklin Regional in April after eight years at the district, an hourly rate of $65 plus a mileage reimbursement for district-related travel. Board President Robert Gumbita said the board had intended to hire William A. Clark for the permanent job, but he accepted a position elsewhere.

Luanne Matta, executive director of the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit, recommended D'Arcangelo to fill the vacancy on a short-term basis, Gumbita said. The board has been pleased with his work so far, he said.

“We're very fortunate, in my opinion, to have someone of his caliber working here,” Gumbita said. “We liked what he had to say and how he presented himself. He's outstanding — a real people person.”

Typically, retirees collecting a pension – D'Arcangelo began drawing a monthly pension from the Public School Employees' Retirement System in May – cannot return to work. However, with an emergency situation such as the one at Mt. Pleasant, a retiree can both receive a pension and work on a temporary basis, said Evelyn Tatkovski, spokeswoman for the retirement system.

Retirees do not earn additional pension benefits by working under the emergency provision, Tatkovski said.

“It's a temporary situation,” she said.

The system does not keep track of the number of retirees who serve in an emergency capacity. However, it does occur from time to time. When Nina Zetty left Peters Township to become superintendent for the Gateway School District, Peters brought in Joseph Dimperio, a retired superintendent who had served at West Mifflin Area and Ambridge Area, to serve on a temporary basis while the board conducted its search.

Districts are not required to inform the system that a retiree is serving in an emergency, but system officials encourage the action. Gumbita said district officials consulted with the retirement system after hiring D'Arcangelo.

According to state pension records, D'Arcangelo receives a monthly pension of $11,799, less a deduction not disclosed by the system.

Gumbita said district officials began advertising for the full-time position last week and plan to begin interviews in August. They hope to hire a full-time replacement at the beginning of October.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com. Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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