Home School News Brick BOE Names Acting Superintendent, Suspends Uszenski

Brick BOE Names Acting Superintendent, Suspends Uszenski

Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Brick Township’s Board of Education voted Thursday night to suspend Superintendent Walter Uszenski following his arrest on charges of theft by deception and official misconduct for allegedly hatching a scheme to provide $40,000 in taxpayer-funded daycare and transportation services for his grandchild for which the child was not entitled.

Uszenski was suspended with pay pending indictment, Shorebeat has learned. The board voted unanimously to suspend Uszenski, though two board members, Frank Pannucci, Jr., and Michael Conti, voted on the measure with prejudice, holding that he should have been suspended without pay.

The board also unanimously voted to appoint Dr. Richard Caldes as acting superintendent through July 31. Caldes, the former Brick Memorial High School principal, has been working in central administration as the district’s Educational Specialist for the past school year. The Brick district does not have any formal assistant superintendent positions.


For comparison, the Toms River Regional Board of Education did not face a decision regarding suspension while charges pended against former Superintendent Michael J. Ritacco. In that case, Ritacco resigned the evening of his arrest. When Lacey Township Superintendent Sandra Brower faced criminal charges in 2013, that board suspended her without pay, however her arrest was concurrent with a formal indictment; Uszenski has not been indicted on the charges brought against him. The charges against Brower were ultimately dropped, and the Lacey Township school district reinstated Brower and was obligated to provide her back pay.

Uszenski’s salary is $177,500 per year.

  • Tom Russo

    What happen to innocence to proven guilty?

    • DragonDad77

      Same guy defending Bellu is defending the Superintendent!

      • Unless something has changed in the last few hours of which I’m not aware, Uszenski’s attorney is Joseph Benedict of New Brunswick. Juan Bellu’s attorney is Robert Shea of Toms River.

      • DragonDad77

        I meant Tom Russo; he was on here defending Bellu in an early article and now is defending Dr. U on here. That’s how I took the “what happened to innocence…”

  • ceeshore

    He’s suspended with pay pending indictment. That’s pretty much saying innocent until proven guilty. They have enough proof of guilt right now to arrest him. As any supposed criminal, if he’s innocent or guilty of any wrongdoing, it will be proven.

    • Marynary

      An indictment does not mean proven guilty.

      It means that a jury of people have agreed that the State has sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. It doesn’t necessarily mean guilt, usually the prosecutor will give a short presentation of the evidence available to them and what they believe witnesses will testify to. All that has happened is that the Grand Jury (usually an 18-member panel of volunteer jurors) believes the State could satisfy their burden of proving the elements of a crime.

      If the Grand Jury “No Bills” it means the case is thrown out but can be reopened in the future with more evidence.

      • jane

        I believe there is much more going on here than we know of right now. From what I understand, the FBI confiscated records from the Board offices. I’ll bet more illegal shenanigans will be uncovered.

  • Chief Wahoo

    Suspended with pay. HA HA HA !! Now the sheep get to pay even more money $$$$$ for another public taker.


    • Average Joe

      That’s your answer to everything. Despite your cynicism, could you ever put together a comment that would actually be intelligent? This looks like the BOE is being very careful on this and will take action as this develops.

      • Chief Wahoo

        Suspend WITHOUT pay !!!! …..if somehow the good Dr. (Funny how All these supers public takers are Drs , most likely at some diploma mill) is found not guilty, pay him the back pay……what’s the difference? Why pay him now for not working today !!!!
        But it’s easy when it’s other people’s money, who at the threat of force and/or foreclosure must pay the public taker cesspool ponzi monopoly ..and the BOE should have been careful 3 years ago BEFORE hiring and handing grandpa $700,000, not counting health benefits and pension, that no private taxpayer gets. ……really getting sick of apologists like you


      • #@#.com

        Wahoo, The reason many of them are Drs. is because the taxpayers fund their post graduate degrees. My friend is a teacher and he got his masters paid for by…..the taxpayers. He went to most classes late, and the professor let them out early every night. No one failed because they were all TEACHERS. the professor passed everyone no matter how many times late or absent. My friend is still planning on going for his Doctorate, hey the tax payers will pay the bill, not him. He said getting his masters degree was easier than getting his bachelors degree.

      • Mark Story Jenks

        That is scary.

      • DennyD

        Before anyone else calls for anymore heads here are some hard FACTS. The ONLY current BOE member that was on the BOE when Uszenski was hired is Sharon Kight/Cantillo. Here are the rest of the sitting BOE members of July 2012. John Talty, Walt Campbell, Len Cuppari, Lawrence Reid, Kim Terebush. NONE of the current BOE members, except for Kight/Cantillo, had anything to do with the hiring of Uszenski and HIS subsequent appointing(the se jobs were never posted) of Andrew Morgan and his wife. I am sure that the current BOE members, except for Kight/Cantillo, were never really clued in on the details of the Uszenski/Morgan/Morgan hirings. If ANYONE wants answers the person to go to is Kight/Cantillo. If anyone does manage to corner her for a few answers remind her that she owes Walter Hrycenko a public apology for all the nasty, derogatory things she berated him with, at public BOE meetings, while he was Superintendent.

      • Adicia

        doubt Cantillo will give any answers , her silence is deafening!

      • Average Joe

        I’m certainly not an apologist…this pisses me off plenty….and I have my share of skepticism of big government and bureaucracy…but you can’t convict anyone with any kind of penalty action until they have been at least indicted. He is entitled to get to that point before he gets penalized.

  • JJones

    Crook …no pay ….

  • SB

    I get the innocent until proven guilty sentiment, but I hope they put him on notice as of the date of his arrest and he’ll have to pay the money back if he’s indicted. If he’s guilty, why should we pay him more taxpayer money for months while they duke it out?

  • JJones

    Make him pay back the money …and send him packing

  • jo jo ormaz

    A couple of things – He was appointed to serve through June 30, 2016, with an annual salary of $177,500. In Spotswood, he was paid $142,000 the year before he left the district. He’s under a contract – which means “He still gets paid!” – Our Tax Paying dollars.

  • jo jo ormaz

    Funny how things happen – In April the Big Announcement comes out – “suddenly, 2 BOE members jumping out to run for office” [ wonder what deal was made or escape plan before it’s too deep ] in April, BOE Budget pushed off?, May the School Budget is passed – posting for Vacancy -BOE members get published – then this comes out. wonder what else will follow..?
    I wondered what was going on during the public meeting- “someone” didn’t want to discuss the A-B class schedules and was so adamant about it.? [ “have to go back to the video and watch it”].. “don’t worry about it” – as quoted lol NOW I am Worried??
    Can’t wait until what November Brings for an Election, Councilman and Board of Education. “who’s running? with more family and business ties” – should be interesting.
    Meanwhile the current BOE members who put countless hours in for free, volunteer their time. Is a SLAP in their face -While someone earns $177K salary and life time benefits [ how many retirement plans ] — That’s Our working class tax dollars paying for; Out of our Property Taxes? how many working people do you know who make over $60K ? who live in Ocean County?
    How is it, with people in Politics / School Board who make the large salaries [ set incomes plus retirement pensions, alimony,benefits ] happen to have the most difficulties when in office.
    something to think about next time when we vote.

  • jane

    Look at the budget, people. There’s all sorts of things hidden in there. Dr. U’s bonus $ is already accounted for “Total Bonuses Amount – $26,233.” He has been pocketing at least $20,000 in “merit pay” for each of the years he’s been our Super.

  • DennyD

    When you lie with a cur you will awaken with its fleas.

  • KMC

    Denny-I agree with everything you are saying but I believe that although John Talty resigned from the Board, he also interviewed and hired Dr. Uszenski. The current board being Pannucci, Conte, Suter, and Cussanelli voted to hired Andrew Morgan and His wife. So the board should take some responsibility for what happened. But from what have seen in the past Madam President is not going to take any responsibility. Hopefully something comes out that shows more.