Since Board of Education Chairwoman Donna Lane announced an investigation following the suspensions of Superintendent of Schools Jack Zamary and interim finance director Frank B. Connolly without further comment on Jan. 13, rumors have been swirling around town — with some fearing the worst.
Lane made a statement at the start of Tuesday night’s budget workshop to clarify the investigation is not criminal in nature.
“It has come to my attention that rumors have started regarding the investigation being conducted by David Ryan of Ryan & Ryan LLC,” she said. “In order to ensure a fair process for Dr. Zamary, first I would like to state that I have no knowledge of any criminal issues related to Mr. Ryan’s investigation.”
“Second, it is my belief that the focus of the investigation is related to budgetary, oversight and leadership issues,” Lane continued. “This is the only comment I have at this time. Thank you.”
Rising special education and health insurance costs helped fuel a growing deficit in the current Board of Education budget, which is now over by $1.5 million, leading to frustration among board members.
Connolly has insisted that the board has been informed of the growing deficit every step of the way, but some members expressed surprise at the total given at a meeting earlier this month.
Zamary and Connolly were suspended indefinitely with pay.
Following the suspensions, the board had voted to make assistant superintendent, Joseph Kobza, the acting superintendent.
Bunovsky steps up
During Tuesday’s meeting, Lane announced that town finance director, Ronald Bunovsky, will share his time between Town Hall and the Central Office, which has been short-handed.
“We’re really excited to have Ron,” Kobza said. “He brings instant stability to the situation. He knows Munis. He will be excellent for the short term.”
Bunovsky said Town Attorney Frank Lieto is working on a memorandum of understanding for how Bunovsky would share his time between the two offices, adding the agreement will be voted on by the Town Council.
Bunovsky would still work at his regular salary.