Tonight's lengthy Jordan-Elbridge school board meeting was not without contradiction.
Early on, the half-full auditorium witnessed a stirring goodbye to Superintendent Marilyn Dominick from town and village officials, where Jordan Mayor Dick Platten handed her a bouquet of flowers. Later on, Bill Speck, District Superintendent of Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, won over the room by promising that the community would have an instrumental role in choosing an interim superintendent. Somewhere in between, attorney Dominick D'Imperio announced that he would be representing a lawsuit against the district that, if won, would require Dominick to continue as superintendent for the remainder of her contract, which ends June 2012.
D'Imperio read a letter written to Dominick's personal attorney as well as the board's general counsel Frank Miller.
"I was asked to come read this for the benefit of the Jordan-Elbridge community," he said.
Representing unspecified residents of the JE community, D'Imperio promised to "commence a proceeding in state court to set aside the severance agreement between the board and Marilyn Dominick and to reinstate her original agreement from May 2007."
Caught completely off guard, the room was silent.
"The primary grounds for this state court proceeding will be that there is no genuine disagreement between Miss Dominick and the board to justify depriving this district of her services for the full term of her contract or for the payment of the $82,000 to purchase her resignation," he said.
He said his firm had reason to believe the agreement was reached improperly, "that it was obtained from Miss Dominick through months of harassment."
"We will contend that this conduct was beyond the power of individual board members and beyond the power of the Board of Education as a whole," he said.
Following the meeting, Dominick said she was shocked by D'Imperio's announcement.
"It was a surprise for me; I'm not really prepared to comment," she said.
PTA member Mary Jo Wick said her committee of parents, which presented the board with 58 questions two weeks ago and continued to make their voice heard at tonight's meeting, was in no way connected to the lawsuit; she was surprised by it as well.