Home School News Residents Blast Brick BOE’s Hiring Procedure for New Acting Superintendent

Residents Blast Brick BOE’s Hiring Procedure for New Acting Superintendent


Dennis Fillippone (center), was selected as the Brick school district's new interim superintendent June 26, 2017. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Dennis Fillippone (center), was selected as the Brick school district’s new interim superintendent June 26, 2017. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
School district officials conceded at a meeting Monday night that there were no advertisements posted nor interviews conducted before selecting a new interim superintendent to lead the district.

Instead, Board President John Lamela said he and board vice president Stephanie Wohlrab relied on current Interim Superintendent Thomas Gialanella’s recommendation to promote Dennis Filippone to the position. The board unanimously voted in favor of appointing Filippone to the position, except for members John Barton and Sharon Cantillo, who were forced to abstain.

Though no one who attended the oft-tense meeting Monday questioned whether Filippone was qualified for the position – all comments about his skill and character were overwhelmingly positive – several residents were critical of the process, as well as the fact that Gialanella would be kept on staff in a new role, earning about $66,000 per year for two days of work per week.


“I didn’t pick myself, and I didn’t pick Mr. Fillippone,” said Gialanella. “I gave the board president and the Vice President my recommendation.”

Filippone will be paid the equivalent of $177,500 per year as interim superintendent, while Gialanella will be paid $638.56 per day, for two days of work for the 2017-18 school year. He will not receive paid vacation time of other benefits. The salary would work out to $66,410 if Gialanella works every week of the year.

“I hope the board looks long and hard about the precedent that they’re setting,” said resident and former board member Karyn Cusanelli, criticizing the fact that there were no job postings or interviews of other candidates.

“What’s going on here?” asked resident Melanie Briggs. “Have you people become your own little clan where you make decisions without the public knowing what’s going on?”

George Scott, another resident, was also critical of the process.

“The previous interim superintendent had a doctorate,” he said, referring to Dr. Richard Caldes, who served in the interim role until Gialanella was selected by a newly-elected school board in Feb. 2016. “There had to be other qualified people. The answer isn’t, ‘none, I just picked somebody.'”

Gialanella will take on the title of Interim Director of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, the position which Filippone currently occupies. The question was also raised as to whether that job can be properly handled by an employee who only works two days per week.

“It’s going to be a strain, without a doubt,” Gialanella said.

Gialanella and Filippone will switch positions July 1. Filippone was appointed to fill the position for one year, and said he has no intention of becoming a permanent superintendent once the contract of Walter Uszenski – who is facing criminal charges – runs out June 30, 2018.

  • Taxed to death

    All schools should be privatized…

    • Sandi Zalinsky

      Yes and let the Parents pay for their children’s education!! See how that works out…lol

  • Late Night Comedian

    So they are replacing a full time 5 day employee with a part time 2 day employee.
    Shows the tax payers how easy and unnecessary the job is.

    • Jack Mac

      How does this happen when there complaining about federal budget cuts and may have to lay offs teachers ?? They complained about the GOP and patronage positions damn now the democrats are doing same crap !!!Potcalling kettle black BS

    • Jack Mac

      Patronage position by Democrats giving it to the taxpayers

    • KaayC

      I thought the same.

  • Beach N8iv

    Feel free to be as outraged as you want, the Board doesn’t care. They already know that you’re not smart enough to vote them out.

  • DennyD
  • Chief Wahoo
  • Chief Wahoo
  • Chief Wahoo

    John Wohlrab, one of the company’s top New Jersey executives and a frequent spokesman, was appointed to a $27,000-a-year seat on the Union County Freeholder Board in 2003 by the county Democratic organization that has long been ruled by Lesniak.

    The appointment of Wohlrab, who has served as Waste Management New Jersey’s general manager and now is a marketing manager, sparked criticism about a possible conflict of interest in dealing with Union County waste issues. Wohlrab also served as a campaign manager for former Linden Mayor John Gregorio, another Democratic ally of Lesniak.

    Lesniak later hired Wohlrab’s wife, Stephanie Babek, as his campaign treasurer and chief fund-raiser.

    Campaign records show Lesniak, who raised more than a $1 million in staving off a tough primary challenge earlier this year, paid Babek more than $33,000 as a consultant in the months leading to the election. Babek, who has a long history as a Democratic fund-raiser, was hired last year as finance director for the Bergen County Democratic Organization.

    Babek also sells books and solicits contributions for a Lesniak non-profit organization, The Road to Justice and Peace Inc., which publishes the lawmaker’s writings on abolishing the death penalty and other pet topics. The organization’s website directs contributors to send money to Babek and Wohlrab’s address in Brick.

    Neither Babek, Wohlrab nor Lesniak returned phone calls seeking comment for this story.

  • Chief Wahoo

    Nancy Ward of
    Linden was sworn in as the newest
    freeholder. She replaces John Wohlrab
    who resigned following his arrest for
    domestic violence.

  • Chief Wahoo

    That game of touch the honey the Bricktucky sheep are feeling is just your wallet being removed from your back pocket. Stephanie Babek, err I mean Wohlrab, learned from the best democRATS in Union County sewers. Soon they will be hiring Gianellas daughter to teach Brick 5th graders !!!!!!!

  • Chief Wahoo
  • Chief Wahoo
  • Chief Wahoo

    Robin Gialanella, 26: Teacher at Silver Bay Elementary School in Toms River, N.J., engaged in kissing, and inappropriate conduct and conversations with two sixth-grade boys, ages 11 and 12, in 2003 and 2004. She was sentenced to 364 days in jail with psychotherapy, must register as a sex offender, will be under lifetime supervision and must surrender her New Jersey teaching certificate.

  • Chief Wahoo

    These are just some of the clowns in this 3 ring circus of Bricktucky. Why would you ever allow those people to make financial decisions that effect your family’s well being ????? They are parasites.

  • ttstorm69

    and brick people wonder why the governor and Sweeny wanna take away 3.3 million away from the school district? this is why cause the town is showing they have a lot of money due to salaries of the higher up. so they figure the schools don’t need it cause if they can pay people like this then the schools are fine

  • Hbadger

    All Hail Douch! I think the minister kid might have a chance with these moral hazards out there.

  • KaayC

    This while they shuttle kids around due to be overcrowding! This is an outrage. No taxpayer in their right minds would support this. Pay Gialanella forty thousand a year and put him in a classroom with thirty kids to alleviate overcrowding.