B y Krystle S. Morey

football-2

The Granville Board of Education rescinded its appointment of Mario Torres as head football coach of the district’s varsity team.

Granville school officials said Monday night that the school does not have a varsity football coach.
“At this time there is no one legally appointed to be the head football coach,” said school Superintendent Mark Bessen, when asked by a parent at the Board of Education meeting Monday night.
The school board voted 5-4 at its June 13 meeting to reappoint Mario Torres as football coach but the dissenters in that vote challenged the legality of the move. The appointment was scrutinized by many board members and community members because it fell into a few gray areas of board policy.
That vote was later determined to be invalid because the superintendent did not recommend Torres to the board, a recommendation that is required by board policy for the appointment of any personnel including teachers and coaches.
“At this time, it was not a legal appointment, so Mr. Torres isn’t officially the head coach,” Bessen said.
Pam Williams, the mother of a senior football player, addressed the board during the public comment portion of the meeting Monday.
“Is Mario Torres our head coach for the upcoming football season?” she asked. “Has the hiring issue been resolved?”
“That is personnel that we can’t respond to,” said board president Audrey Hicks, referring the question to the superintendent.
“The vote last month was not valid,” Bessen declared.
Hicks said that when the board voted to appoint Torres last month, “there was nobody, with the possible exception of the superintendent, that was aware that it required the superintendent’s recommendation as well.”
Williams questioned the superintendent on why he did not speak up at that meeting.
“I did,” he said. “…and we were told ‘stay out, this is legal.’ I said ‘I didn’t recommend him,’ and I was told ‘I know,’ and the meeting went on.”
“It was after the vote that I told (Hicks) that I didn’t make the appointment,” Bessen said. “There was a motion, a second and no discussion and then a vote, which caused the whole thing to go so fast.”
The board sent a letter to Torres after the June 13 reappointment vote, but the administration has since taken that back.
“So we have no football coach?” Williams asked. “You are going to take back the letter?”
Bessen said Tuesday that he will call Mario himself to talk about the appointment.
Mario Torres did not return calls for comment.
“It’s just an unfortunate chain of events, that has to be done correctly so that we can make sure that the kids have a coach,” Bessen said.
Football players have been told that their first practice is set for Aug. 15 at the Granville High School practice field. The first day of the 2016-17 school year is Sept. 6.
Bessen said Monday that he doesn’t know at this point who he will recommend as head coach. A candidate needs to first be recommended to him by the high school principal and the athletic director.
“The kids are asking,” Williams said. “The kids want to know, four weeks before their season starts, if they have a coach or not.”
The board will likely make a decision by Aug. 1, its next meeting date, Bessen said. The board could, however, vote to add a special meeting to consider a recommendation by Bessen before that date.
“If Eileen (Troy) and Camille (Harrelson) get things done before then, and I can present to the board … and they can have a special meeting and get a quorum, and all of the other happy stuff, we could do it before,” he said.
Also at the meeting Monday night, the board OK’d the appointment of Eileen Troy as athletic director with an annual stipend of $7,860. The athletic director position is an annually appointed, part-time position, just like coaches, Bessen said. Her new term, which began July 1, runs through Dec. 31.
Bessen said the school brought Troy in “to fix a few things within the district, based on her great experience and knowledge.”
Troy’s appointment passed with a 9-0 block vote that was grouped with several other school officers and committees. The board also voted 8-0 to rescind the appointment of Jeremiah “Jay” Condon as a physical education teacher.
Condon, who was recommended for the football coach’s position by the school’s administrators and was hired as a phys ed teacher at the June 13 meeting, asked to return to his position as a teacher at the Granville Elementary School after the board voted against him as a replacement for Torres as head football coach.
Board member Ed Vladyka, who attended the meeting via video conference, did not vote on Condon’s position because of technical problems.
The board approved the hiring of new physical education teacher Justin Nassivera to fill Condon’s position.
Granville Elementary School principal Stacey Roberts, who sat in on Nassivera’s interview with Troy and high school principal Camille Harrelson, said he comes highly recommended. Roberts touted his experience with a wide variety of grade levels and his adaptability to coach different sports including volleyball and soccer.
Nassivera’s salary for the 2016-17 school year is set at $38,078.

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