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.