It's interesting to note that the praise heaped on Nicolello also damns him. The board says that Nicolello "provides legal advice to the board and administration on a broad range of laws, regulations and court and administrative decisions relating to the operation of a school district. He also reviews each and every contact submitted to the board and works with the administration in developing policies."
So Nicolello was fully aware of his position and the pension credits he was receiving.
Would he have changed his employment status if he wasn't caught by Newsday????
Nicolello has alot of questions to answer and he will be answering them under oath as the Attorney Generals investigation builds up.
"We have all read the articles in Newsday over the last several weeks. The articles have focused attention on the relationships school districts have with attorneys and other professionals. In this regard, at the present time our district is carefully examining its own relationship with school attorneys and other professionals in order to ensure that these relationships are appropriate and in the best interests of the taxpayer.
"Since 1987 Richard Nicolello has provided general counsel services to the board of education. Nicolello has been board counsel for only this district for that entire time period. As general counsel, he provides legal advice to the board and administration on a broad range of laws, regulations and court and administrative decisions relating to the operation of a school district. He also reviews each and every contact submitted to the board and works with the administration in developing policies. Plus, he attends most regular meetings of the board. Nicolello is in constant communication with the board president, superintendent, assistant superintendent and support staff. He has been available to the district on days, nights and weekends.
"Mr. Nicolello has served as a part-time employee of the district since 1987. Mr. Nicolello has requested, and we have agreed, to change his status from part-time employee to independent contractor. He will continue to provide the same services to the New Hyde Park/Garden City Park Board of Education.
"Our district, like school districts all over New York State, is awaiting more specific guidance from the New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and other regulatory agencies as to the most appropriate means by which professional services are rendered to schools. In the meantime, we will continue to review all of our professional service relationships to make sure that services are provided in an appropriate manner.
"As you know the attorney general has asked every school district for information regarding their attorney and has asked this school district for information regarding its attorney and we continue to comply."