Timing suggests teams’ forfeits played role
By Chip Rowe
In an agreement with the Beacon City School District, the high school athletic director will be allowed to retire in July after being told in February he would be fired, according to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Law.
Martin Nemecek was hired by the district as the Beacon High School athletic director in February 2015 to succeed Eric Romanino, who retired after 20 years in the position. Nemecek, who earns $134,000 annually, came to Beacon from Putnam Valley High School, where he was the athletic director for three years. Prior to that, he had been A.D. at Utica High School for five years.
At the Beacon school board’s April 17 meeting, Cecilia Dansereau Rumley, the assistant superintendent for instructional services, said the district had received 38 applications for the position. She said a committee of 12 to 14 people, including members of the community, would be formed to select applicants for interviews, with the goal of having a finalist by June.
It is not clear from emails and letters released by the district why Nemecek was told he would be dismissed, but the announcement of his departure came less than three weeks after the Bulldogs forfeited their four victories from the 2016 football season and seven of their boys’ basketball wins because of an ineligible player.
The athletic director collects rosters from each coach before the fall, winter and spring seasons to ensure that all players are eligible.
Sargent Elementary School principal Brian Archer, the union representative for administrators in the district, told The Current in an email that Nemecek had “retired to be closer to his family upstate,” but that neither he nor the athletic director would comment further. Interim Superintendent Ann Marie Quartironi and football coach Tony Truscello also did not respond to requests for comment.
On Jan. 5, Nemecek and Quartironi informed the administrator who oversees Section 1 athletics, Jennifer Simmons, of the ineligible player. According to New York State Public High School Athletic Association rules, any victories the athlete participated in had to forfeited. On Jan. 6, Nemecek wrote to the coaches whose teams had lost to the basketball team to inform them the results would be changed to 2-0 victories in their favor.
The student “was in no way at fault” for the snafu, Quartironi said at the Jan. 9 school board meeting. To be eligible for sports in New York state, a public high school student must be enrolled in at least three classes plus physical education.
“The district regrets the error and is working actively with Section 1 [officials] to ensure that any similar incidents are prevented in the future,” Quartironi said at the time. Section 1 includes schools in the lower Hudson Valley from Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties. The school board president, Anthony White, added that the district was trying to determine “where the gaps were, because we don’t want this to happen again.” (White said on April 19 he could not comment on specifics regarding personnel matters.)
Nemecek and Archer met with Quartironi on Jan. 13, and she informed the athletic director she would recommend to the school board at its Feb. 13 meeting that he be terminated as of March 13.
Instead, on Jan. 26, the board approved a separation agreement in which Nemecek agreed to resign as of July 1. He also agreed not to sue the district. In his letter of resignation, dated Jan. 25, he said he was leaving “for the purpose of retirement.”
Jeff Simms contributed reporting.