NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Jimmy Bonanno has been replaced as the head of the Grounds Maintenance Department within the City School District of New Rochelle. The move comes almost two months after Bonanno, along with district plumber Anthony Raffa were both suspended, after Talk of the Sound reported the pair were found hiding out behind Ward school in Bonanno’s truck. Just days earlier, Raffa and Bonanno were caught hanging around the Home Depot on Weyman Avenue during work hours by Arthur Riviera, an Aramark consultant and the recently installed Director of Buildings & Grounds.
A board resolution to accomplish this was passed Tuesday, February 3rd.
RESOLUTION NO. 15-215-2
OUT-OF-TITLE PAY – BUILDINGS & GROUNDS
WHEREAS, Vincent Bonanno, Grounds Maintenance Working Foreman, has been absent from his permanent position effective the close of business December 11, 2014, now, be it therefore authorized that Phillip Rossetti, Motor Equipment Operator, will assume the duties of Grounds Maintenance Working Foreman, and is hereby approved for out-of-title pay, at $1,138.29 per pay period, effective December 15, 2014.
The decision to put Rossetti in charge has puzzled some. Rossetti was with Bonanno and Raffa, hiding behind Ward School over a two-day period in December. Rossetti was also with Bonanno and Raffa when the trio was observed hiding out for hours at the Dunkin’ Donuts on East Main Street. Rossetti was the subject of a criminal investigation by the New Rochelle Police Department based on a referral from the Westchester County District Attorney. Records obtained by Talk of the Sound from Pascap, a scrap-metal business in the Bronx, show that Rossetti was operating a scrap-metal business on district time.
There is speculation that Rossetti has been cooperating with a corruption investigation within the district.
Bonanno, Raffa and Rosetti have racked up many hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime over the past few years.
Bonanno has justified his failure to do work alongside other members of the Grounds crew on the false claim that he held the title of “Supervisor” and thus was not required to perform labor alongside other members of the grounds. As the board resolution makes clear, this claim is false. In a deposition in a lawsuit filed by Bonanno, he stated, under oath, that former Buildings and Grounds Director John Gallagher of Aramark granted him the title of “Supervisor”. Job titles cannot be “granted” by a person’s boss, and certainly not by an outside consultant like John Gallagher. There is a process which includes exams, eligibility lists and board resolutions — none of which occurred in Bonanno’s claim to be a Supervisor.
A review of Bonanno’s employment files provided by the City School District of New Rochelle as part of the lawsuit discovery process also do not support Bonanno’s claims. By his sworn statement in the deposition, Bonanno effectively admitted he was, for many years, being paid for work he did not perform which he was required, by his job description, to perform. It is widely known that Jimmy Bonanno was largely absent when work was being performed by the Grounds crew; he has been found instead at the New York Sports Club, the Stop and Shop, Home Depot, Dunkin’ Donuts, Bagel Zone, IHOP in Larchmont, Beckwith Pointe, the New Rochelle Marina, at his home on Ronalds Avenue and many other places besides on school grounds or at his office on Cliff Street During the same pay periods where Bonanno was observed not working, he filed for significant overtime pay, as did the two people most often observed with him not working; Phil Rossetti and Anthony Raffa.
Raffa’s fate is unclear. Bonanno and Raffa were initially given a 30-day suspension on December 11th. When that expired in January, the District placed both employees on Administrative Suspension. Sources familiar with the matter say Bonanno has been offered the opportunity to return to work for the District as a Motor Equipment Operator and that if he accepts that position he will not be permitted to work overtime.