NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Scott Empara, a Working-Foreman Electrician employed by the New Rochelle Board of Education, was suspended for 30 Days with Pay on Monday following an incident last Thursday in which he allegedly made terroristic threats of violence against other school district employees.
The New Rochelle Board of Education met in Executive Session prior to Tuesday night's school board meeting to discuss the matter, later voting to adopt a resolution requiring Empara to undergo a full medical examination of his physical and mental condition pursuant to Section 913 of the New York State Education Law. In order to safeguard the health of children attending the public schools, Section 913 empowers school boards to require any person employed by the board of education to submit to a medical examination by a physician determine the physical or mental capacity of such person to perform his or her duties.
Resolution 15-295-14 states that the Superintendent of Schools (Dr. Osborne) has called the Board of Education’s attention to issues which have called into question the capacity of Employee No. 2014-2015/8 (Empara) to perform the essential functions of his/her duties; and the Superintendent of Schools and the Board of Education agree that it is desirable to assess such employee’s physical and mental condition insofar as such condition may bear on his fitness for duty and requires that Empara undergo a full medical examination of his physical and mental condition pursuant to Section 913 of the New York State Education Law.
Empara has a long history of abusive behavior, making threats against district employees, and family members and bringing guns onto school property. Photographs of guns and ammunition kept in Empara’s office was sent by former Aramark consultant Anthony Rigos to his boss, John Gallagher two years ago but no action was taken against Empara. Those images remain on the district computer and can be retrieved by the district at any time yet they have not been retrieved. Why those images have never been turned over to law enforcement remains a mystery.
Police were not called them nor since including for this most recent incident based on a Freedom of Information request made by Talk of the Sound for New Rochelle police records regarding Empara.
Empara allegedly bribed a local official to obtain his electrical license, his work colleagues say he is incompetent as an electrician, does little actual work, routinely takes work-tickets from his employees to claim them as his own, racks up massive amounts of overtime making him one of the highest-paid employees in the Buildings & Grounds department.
One of the few Buildings & Grounds employees that is known to some school board members is Scott Empara, a working-foreman electrician. Empara was hired by the district effective May 11, 1988. In 2011, the last full year on file with the state, Empara was paid $111,842, making him one of the highest paid employees in the B&G department. Empara is often at board meetings because he is given overtime during school board meetings and budget forums at the New Rochelle High school library where he sets up and breaks down chairs for a few minutes but mostly he sits in a chair in the back of the room and daydreams - all while getting paid four hours of overtime at each meeting.
Empara is the district’s asbestos inspector but allegedly routinely violates New York State and Federal law regarding asbestos removal and handling and has for years tuned a blind eye to his former boss John Gallagher hiring George Wood Plumbing to do illegal asbestos removal work in New Rochelle schools. For example, at Davis Elementary School where New York State investigators found numerous violations and fraud in work done on the school offices.
Empara has allegedly stolen over $100,000 of school supplies, taken kickbacks from vendors selling supplies to the district, spends a good part of his work day sitting in his office watching pornography on a laptop he brings to work specifically for that purpose, there are allegations of an obsession with child pornography, he is alleged to own a collection of unregistered handguns but does not have a pistol license.
The latest incident occurred on Thursday morning at the loading dock on the Clove Road side of New Rochelle High School. Empara became irate during a discussion with Joseph Nardozzi, a recently hired electrician working under Empara. Sources tell Talk of the Sound that Nardozzi became alarmed at the statements made by Empara and reported the incident to Williams.
This time Williams took action, suspending Empara for 30 days with pay on Monday.
Empara is alleged to have stated that if he lost his job as result of various investigations into corruption within the school district he would come back with his guns and shoot everyone and then proceeded to list the names of co-workers and senior school officials he would target including Williams, who is African-American, who Empara described using variations on the “n-word” combined with the “f-word”.
Less clear is why school officials allowed Empara to continue working Thursday and to come to work on Friday before being suspended on Monday. An email to Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne seeking an explanation received not reply. There is a two-day notice requirement for suspensions but there is an exemption for someone who is a threat to themselves or others and they could have simply sent Empara home with pay without prior to his suspension.
According to New Rochelle Police officials, there is no record that the school district has ever filed a report with the police about Empara. Osborne declined to explain why the police were not notified as such notification appears to be required under the New Rochelle High School and District-wide Safety Plan which the board adopted under the New York State Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE Act).