Mento hearing continues
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."