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Board member opposes superintendent representing district in federal court case

Published September 14. 2012 05:03PM

Panther Valley school board's decision Thursday to name Superintendent Rosemary Porembo to represent the district in mediation of a federal-court case brought by a Nesquehoning man raised the ire of one board member.

John Barna in April filed the suit in U.S. District Court, Scranton, alleging that the school board violated his civil rights by barring him from meetings. The matter is in mediation.

The board agreed, with David Hiles and Roy Angst opposed, to have Porembo represent the district in the mediation.

Hiles opposed the motion because he is against mediation in the case. He said mediation means the school district would "cave" to Barna in the matter.

If that happened, he said, "I will resign that night."

"Mr. Barna's problems with Panther Valley School District were brought on by his conduct in this boardroom and statements he made," Hiles said.

Angst interrupted, challenging Hiles.

"We're not going to debate it," said board President Jeff Markovich.

"Then shut him up," Angst said.

Hiles said discussion of the case had to happen in public because the board can no longer have executive sessions due to current legal actions concerning Angst releasing what the board argues is confidential information to the public.

"The school board has been framing him (Barna) all along," Angst shouted.

Markovich ordered the sniping to cease.

Markovich then said the board needed to know information concerning an incident involving Barna and Nesquehoning police. He did not release details publicly.

Also, Markovich asked for a change of attorneys in the Barna matter. Porembo said she would hold a telephone conference about the matter on Friday.

Angst said the case would be delayed because Barna is in an intensive care unit of a hospital.

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