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Board of Education faces hiring lawsuit

| Saturday, Oct. 29, 2005, 12:00 p.m.

Former interim city schools superintendent Andy King has asked an Allegheny County judge to void the hiring of his replacement and force the district to conduct a new search for superintendent.

In a lawsuit filed this week in Common Pleas court, King accused the Pittsburgh Board of Education of illegally delegating the search for a new boss to two outsiders -- former superintendents Richard C. Wallace and Helen S. Faison -- who then secretly rejected most applicants for the job, including King.

King's attorney, Avrum Levicoff, called the criteria used to select new Superintendent Mark Roosevelt "secret, subjective, nebulous, unexpressed, and unpublished, perhaps even discriminatory."

"While clearly an intelligent, innovative individual, a talented lawyer and a former legislator, Mr. Roosevelt is unfortunately lacking in the published requirements for certification, experience, and education for the position of superintendent," Levicoff wrote.

School district attorney Bruce Campbell called King's lawsuit baseless.

"It is my belief that the search was conducted in an exemplary and professional manner," Campbell said.

King also asks in the lawsuit to be reinstated to his old job as chief academic officer, the No. 2 position in the district.

The board eliminated King's old position and named him "special assistant to the superintendent on special assignment," which Levicoff wrote was a demotion. Campbell said King was not demoted in pay or status.

The school board named King interim superintendent in March after forcing out John Thompson.

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