Letter to the editor: Consultant may have a conflict of interest

"The question at hand is whether or not a conflict of interest exists and whether he can conduct a full and impartial investigation"

Dear Editor:

The following was sent to the Board of Education members on Thursday, October 22 in regards to the consultant that was recently hired by the district to investigate the middle school fiasco at the start of the school year. While I am sure Dr. Centolanza is more than qualified to conduct such an investigation, the question at hand is whether or not a conflict of interest exists and whether he can conduct a full and impartial investigation.

To the Parsippany Board of Education,

First and foremost, I want to thank the Board for conducting an investigation into the middle school fiasco.  I think an outside source will hopefully reveal the issues that went wrong to avoid these issues from happening again.

Prior to the Board meeting of his appointment on October 15, there was no clear indicators on who this candidate may be.  While he seems to be highly qualified, I just want to share something that I discovered and ensure that there is no conflict with his appointment.

Based on LinkedIn profiles that can be viewed online, it appears both individuals were employed by the Paterson Public School district  between 2001 and 2004.

At the time, Mr. Rixford was the Principal of the Alexander Hamilton Academy (October 2001 – August 2005) and Dr. Louis Centolanza was a Consultant (September 2001-June 2004  – Job Desciption as consultant – to provide technical assistance through comprehensive planning, guidance, facilitation and evaluation in the areas of Governance, Personnel, Supervision of Staff, Role of Assistant Superintendents and School Programs, between July 1, 2002 and November 30, 2002, at an amount not to exceed $27,000.00.

Additionally,  Mr. Rixford was the Assistant Superintendent of the Paterson School District  (August 2005 – July 2006) while Dr. Louis Centolanza was the Interim Superintendent / Board Secretary  to the Passaic County Educational Services Commision (March 2005 – June 2007.)

For reference, I have included a link to both individuals linked in page as reference.

Scott Rixford

Dr. Louis Centolanza

Once again, while he seems to be an ideal candidate to conduct such an investigation, I just want to disclose this information in that there very well may be a conflict based on the ties to working together in the Paterson School District and the fact that the two were  Superintendents in Passaic County during the same time period.

Thanks for your time and hopefully this matter can come to a close and the district can continue to move forward.

Andy Sadowski