Smithfield School Dept. taps long-time Lincoln building and grounds director

Smithfield School Dept. taps long-time Lincoln building and grounds director

SMITHFIELD - Now it's Lincoln's turn to find a new building and grounds director.

The School Committee at this week's meeting voted unanimously to hire Angelo Mencucci, director of buildings, grounds and transportation for Lincoln schools, to be director of buildings and grounds for Smithfield schools.

He replaces John Obiurka who went to the Foster-Glocester Regional School District last month to take on virtually the same job there.

Mencucci's hiring makes the situation akin to a game of musical chairs, as building and grounds directors in northern Rhode Island schools are simply exchanging places, going from Smithfield to Ponaganset and now from Lincoln to Smithfield.

Mencucci will earn an annual salary of approximately $83,000, according to Supt. Robert M. O'Brien, and was chosen from 39 applicants from six states. He has 19 years of experience in "all aspects of school facilities," O'Brien said, and holds certification or licenses for such jobs as boiler operator, electrician and pipefitter.

"The references I checked told me he is extremely organized, an excellent problem-solver, and has the vision necessary to develop long-term plans for the maintenance of buildings, future program development and most importantly the safety and security of buildings, grounds and transportation," O'Brien told the committee.

"He understands that his role is to ensure the safety of all students, parents, faculty and staff."

O'Brien said Mencucci will be offered a contract dating from the present time to the end of June 2015.This is an apparent compromise from O'Brien's call at the last meeting for a three-year pact and the school board's inclination for a one-year contract so other long-term options can be studied to fill this position.

The School Committee at its Oct. 21 meeting formally voted to research such options as sharing the job with other school districts or with the town of Smithfield, or outsourcing the work to a private company.

A screening committee of 11 people reviewed the 39 applications for the job, O'Brien said, and chose five applicants for interviews. Four were interviewed: three candidates from Rhode Island, including the only Smithfield resident who applied, and one from Connecticut. Two applicants were called back for a second round of interviews, O'Brien said.

But the hiring was not without a snafu, according to comments made at Monday night's School Committee meeting.

Al Costantino, a local businessman who keeps a close eye on the school board, revealed that another candidate was offered and accepted the job on a Friday, only to have the offer rescinded on Monday, the next business day. This other candidate, who was not named, reportedly worked for North Providence.

Costantino asked the committee for an explanation to stop what he called "the mud being dragged around northern Rhode Island," referring to unfavorable comments about Smithfield as a result of the hiring switch. O'Brien and School Committee Chairman Richard B. Iannitelli declined all comment - to Costantino during the meeting and to The Valley Breeze & Observer after the meeting - on the advice of Ben Scungio, legal counsel to the school board.

Comments

Congrats to Angelo he will be good for Smithfield, Makes you wonder what is going on in Lincoln though.

Smithfield could not have chosen a more qualified person! I just feel bad for the poor person who will have to fill the spot for Lincoln. Not only will they never be able to fill the shoes left behind but they will unfortunately have to work daily for one of the most demanding, selfish, and ungrateful woman as their boss.

Congrats Smithfield and Mr. Mencucci and Best of luck!