ShareThis Page
Home

Mento hearing continues

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Wednesday, May 5, 2004

The sight of Montour Superintendent Ron Mento blowing up an inflatable doll was enough to make Jean Maravich leave a staff Christmas party in December but not enough to file a formal complaint.

Maravich, the district's director of pupil services and the only female administrator, said Tuesday that she was so offended by the sight of the doll as Mento inflated it that she immediately left the Dec. 22 gathering at Rockefeller's Grille in Kennedy.

"I was uncomfortable because I was the lone female," Maravich testified during a continuation of Mento's dismissal hearing yesterday.

Maravich said she didn't file a formal harassment complaint because she didn't want to jeopardize her working relationship with her boss.

"I thought I handled it the best way I could at the time," she said.

The incident is among the reasons Montour School District officials say Mento should be fired from his $110,240-a-year job. He also is accused of signing a certificate stating the school board approved a software lease when it had not and of failing to file required reports with the state when they were due.

Montour Solicitor Greg Gleason rested his case yesterday after questioning acting Superintendent Joe Findley and Maravich.

Mento's attorney, Jack Cambest, is expected to resume questioning witnesses when the hearing resumes at 3:30 p.m. May 26 at the high school.

In questioning yesterday, Cambest attempted to show that other district employees and administrators were responsible for reports not being completed or submitted on time. He said none of them has been disciplined.

Although school officials say state funding could have been withheld, the district has not lost any money, Cambest said.

Findley, the acting superintendent, testified that district Technology Director Brent Scott gave the inflatable doll of a woman in a bikini to Security Director Jerry Waldorf as a gag gift. He said Mento eventually took the box containing the doll to the back of the room, inflated it and sat it in a chair.

Findley testified that what happened at the party was an "embarrassment."

"I couldn't believe what was transpiring. I was shocked," he said. "It was not something I would expect the educational leader of a school district to do."

Cambest said Waldorf threw the doll away. Cambest yesterday briefly displayed a box that he said contained the same type of doll, bought at a mall-based novelty store.

Although she didn't file a complaint, Maravich testified, she spoke to Gleason about it but saw no reason to pursue charges after Mento was suspended in January.

Asked if Scott should have brought the doll to the party, Findley said: "I felt it was in bad taste."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me