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TOTS Report’s Notebook: February 24, 2015

Written By: Robert Cox

Aramark is the multi-billion dollar services company that runs the Buildings & Grounds department in the City School District of New Rochelle. On Monday, a regular work day for the Grounds Maintenance staff but a snow day for teachers, staff and students, workers were told to report at the normal time of 7 a.m. Many of the workers are upset because after a great deal of fraud and abuse related to snow days overtime was exposed by Anna Giordano last year, Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff ordered overtime to be curtailed. For many years these workers were allowed to come at 4 a.m. and earn three hours of overtime each day it snowed before the work day even began and rack up even more overtime after 3:30 p.m. Last winter, two workers earned about 180 hours of overtime in a month (Jimmy Bonanno, Phil Rossetti) when the pair rarely worked a full day of regular hours (Talk of the Sound video taped the pair along with Anthony Raffa spending hours at a Dunkin’ Donuts and then charging those hours to the District). Feeling generous with taxpayer money, Kyle Minichino of Aramark sent the entire Grounds Maintenance crew home at 10 a.m. on Monday but they were paid for the entire day.

FUSE has distributed the results of the calendar survey in which teachers (and apparently not SRPs) were asked whether they would support changing the school calendar to start the school year before Labor Day. 339 were opposed to returning before Labor Day and 266 supported returning before Labor Day. In a message to FUSE members, Marty Daly said the results will “absolutely inform the union’s discussions with the school district administration as the 2015-2016 calendar is configured.”

The New Rochelle School District’s PAVE program created a promotional video and uploaded it to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mUhkkOUms4

New Rochelle City Council selected Brekford Corporation, a company out of Maryland, as vendor for red-light cameras. 8 intersections are expected to get the cameras this spring. New Rochelle, Yonkers and Mount Vernon were approved by New York State to get the cameras. Municipalities are always attracted to this sort of offering — free money with no effort. Across the United States, red-light cameras often generate backlash from residents who end up paying the bulk of the cost in the form of traffic tickets and organizations concerns with government intrusion.

The City Council has approved a 5-story, 48 apartment building at North Avenue and Park Place and a 4-story, 36 apartment building on Burling Lane. The New Rochelle Planning Board and the Westchester County Planning Department must give consent to zoning changes requested for the projects. The “Lombardi” project on North Avenue will include commercial space on the first floor.

A number of years ago, Jimmy Bonanno reported to Larry Savage of ServiceMaster, later re-named Aramark. Savage was the head of buildings and grounds. James “Jimmy Blues” or “Jimmy Boy” Amorsano, one of the workers under Bonanno, made complaints to Savage that he was being sexually harassed by Bonanno. Amorsano told Savage that Bonanno was frequently touching and grabbing Amorsano’s buttocks. Amorsano was arrested for selling cocaine. He resigned his position with the school district and was later convicted and sent to prison. The sexual harassment complaint against Bonanno was dropped.