Newly elected Gateway school principal will not serve due to covid-19 health issues

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Newly elected James Lomeo has no plans to serve on the Gateway School board due to lingering covid issues.

Lomeo won one of four contested seats in the November 2 election, leading a group of six candidates with 4,209 votes. Shortly after being treated in a hospital, Lomeo wrote to the board on November 29 to express his inability to take office.

“It is with deep regret that I must inform you that I am unable to fulfill the obligations of a school principal,” Lomeo said in the letter. “I was recently released from the hospital from a medical emergency due to covid-19. I contracted SARS-CoV-2 in mid-November and the illness became serious.

“Being a healthy person, I didn’t expect to have such a reaction or such a problem. I have an autoimmune disease, but I don’t think it increases the severity. However, I guess it could have.

Bruce Dice, district attorney, said the Pennsylvania school code gives Lomeo 10 days to reconsider its decision. If Lomeo is not sworn in during this period, the board of directors will have 30 days to fill the vacant seat.

“There is a window that he could come in and take the oath of office and take his seat,” Dice said. “Dec. 8 will be the start of the 10 days. That brings us to December 18, which is a Saturday. So realistically, you’re looking at December 20, which is a Monday.

Lomeo said he was not sure how long his recovery would take.

“I am struggling with borderline oxygen levels, covid-19 pneumonia and fatigue,” Lomeo said in his letter to the board. “It’s hard for me to discuss private matters, but I thought I owed you an explanation. “

In addition to the impacted oxygen levels and pneumonia, Lomeo said he also had headaches. These lingering health issues would keep him away from the board for several months, which Lomeo called unfair to taxpayers “when there are so many significant issues facing Gateway.”

“I’m frustrated. I spent a lot of time and money to participate because I thought I could make a real difference,” Lomeo said in an email to Tribune-Review. “But life is one. timing and sometimes things just don’t work out All of my successes, personal and professional, are due to friends and nice people in Monroeville / Pitcairn, and it would have been selfish to keep a position open.

Lomeo, who has a law firm in Monroeville, was mayor of the municipality for six years after running unopposed in the November 2001 election. He cited differences with the council before stepping down from his post during the election. ‘a meeting in February 2008.

Robin Mungo retained his seat on the school board in a reorganization meeting Tuesday at Gateway High School. She obtained 3,822 votes in the election, second behind Lomeo. Leslie McBride and Mandal Singh were also seated.

Gary DeLorenzo received 3,092 votes, 64 behind Singh.

Jack Bova, who was sworn in as a director on November 9, was elected as the new chairman of the board at Tuesday’s meeting. After serving on the Board of Directors from 2018 to 2019, Bova joined a vacant seat left by the resignation of Reverend Scott Gallagher on September 27.

“We are in a strange situation where this board of directors has filled vacancies several times over the past two years,” Bova said of the Lomeo board seat. “Most people who have been paying attention understand that there aren’t a lot of firm guidelines as to how the board of directors provides the seat. So the difference is that we just had an election that took place a few days ago.

“The board, if indeed the time is right to fill that position, will decide whether it will essentially look at the community as a whole to fill the position or consider the most recent elections to be the thing. But we’ll do it in a transparent, direct, and timely manner to do what’s best for the community.

Wes Crosby is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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