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SHARPSVILLE Bid to oust leader fails

By Harold Gwin

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Only one school director was ready to remove Robert Timmerman as president.
SHARPSVILLE, Pa. -- The president of the Sharpsville Area School Board has survived an effort to remove him as head of the board.
At the end of the the Sept. 17 school board meeting, school Director Chris Ruffo made the motion to remove Robert Timmerman, but because the board lacked a quorum, the issue was carried over to a special board meeting Tuesday.
John Reed, board solicitor, had raised a legal question, saying the board might not be able to replace its president while he is still a board member.
But he said Tuesday that Ruffo's motion was legal.
The problem: Ruffo was displeased that Timmerman had missed two board meetings and had yet to explain why he had authorized extra expenses for the resodding of the high school football field without school board approval.
Timmerman wasn't at the September meeting, but he was there Tuesday, though he declined to publicly discuss the sod issue. He said Ruffo had attended a three-hour meeting in which Reed explained what happened.
In a vote on the removal, Ruffo stood alone. Timmerman abstained, but the other six members -- Susan Pokorney, David DeForest, Joyce Grandy, Daniel Baker, Terry Karsonovich and Henry VanZanten -- all voted to keep Timmerman in his post.
The district had paid Scott Lawn Yard of Sanborn, N.Y., $17,900 to grade and reseed the football field.
More work needed: Timmerman told The Vindicator that Scott Lawn didn't complete the work and later insisted more work was necessary than was called for in the contract.
The superintendent, with the knowledge of the board president and the athletic director, authorized additional work, he said.
When it became clear the field couldn't be reseeded in time for the fall football season, Timmerman said he and the board vice president advised the contractor to have the necessary work done to bring in replacement sod, incurring the extra bills.
But the board balked last month at paying three additional bills for the resodding.
After an executive session with Reed to discuss legal ramifications of refusing to pay, the board voted unanimously to pay all three.
Payments: Scott got an additional $9,999, Lark Excavating of West Middlesex got $9,000, and VicNor Farms of Connoquenessing, Pa., got $6,300, bringing the total project cost to about $43,000.
The board also voted to release Reed's report on the resodding issue to the public today.