Kenilworth superintendent to get $100,000 to quit

KENILWORTH, NJ — The school board will pay former Superintendent Thomas Tramaglini more than $100,000, according to a separation agreement between the school district and the former official charged with defecating near the track and football field at Holmdel High School in May.

Tramaglini, whose arrest by Holmdel police drew international attention and set off a flurry of internet headlines referring to a “mystery pooper” or “super pooper,” will receive five months’ pay for the time between when he went on leave in May and his final day in September, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by LocalSource through an Open Public Record Act request.

Brian Luciani, who served as acting superintendent during Tramaglini’s leave, will be replaced by Marilyn Birnbaum, who was hired in a unanimous vote at the school board’s meeting on Monday, Aug. 13. Birnbaum will serve as acting superintendent from Aug. 20 to Sept. 30, and as acting and interim superintendent until June 30 — or until a permanent superintendent is hired.

School board President Nancy Zimmerman said the board will begin looking for a permanent superintendent immediately.
Birnbaum, who served as the interim superintendent in Cranford from 2015 to 2017, will be paid $761.88 per day.

Tramaglini, who had a yearly salary of $147,504, according to state records, will also receive a one-time payment of two months’ salary equaling $24,584, as part of the separation agreement signed by Zimmerman and Vincent Gonnella, the school business administrator, Thursday, July 26. That was the same day the board voted unanimously to accept Tramaglini’s resignation, effective Sunday, Sept. 30. Additionally, the former superintendent will receive $23,827 for the 42 unused vacation days he accrued since he started at the position Feb. 16, 2016.

“Based on events unrelated to his service for Kenilworth, it has become clear to both Dr. Tramaglini and the Kenilworth Board of Education that his continued service as superintendent of schools has become too much of a distraction to the main mission of the district,” Zimmerman said, reading from a prepared statement Thursday, July 26.

The special meeting to announce Tramaglini’s resignation took less 20 minutes and concluded without fanfare. The meeting at David Brearley School was attended by three members of the public and only one spoke during the public comment period.

Tramaglini, who lives in Matawan, about 4.4 miles from the Holmdel athletic field, was charged Tuesday, May 1, with lewdness, littering and defecating in public, Holmdel police Sgt. Theodore Sigismondi told LocalSource in a May 3 phone interview.

Sigismondi told LocalSource that the Holmdel school resource officer was alerted by the high school staff and coaches that they had been finding human feces on or near the high school track and football field “on a daily basis.” The school resource officer and school staff monitored the area and were reportedly able to identify “a subject responsible for the act,” he said.

Tramaglini, 42, was “running at the time” when he was apprehended at about 5:50 a.m., Sigismondi said.
A copy of Tramaglini’s letter of resignation, obtained by LocalSource, does not specifically address his arrest.
Tramaglini was appointed Kenilworth superintendent Dec. 14, 2015, replacing Scott Taylor who had resigned to take over the Highland Park School District. Zimmerman said Tramaglini’s contract originally extended until July 1, 2020.

According to the separation agreement, the school district and Tramaglini “agree that they will not directly or indirectly disparage the name, reputation, services or competency of one another.”

Tramaglini’s attorney, Matthew S. Adams, recently filed legal paperwork stating Tramaglini intends to sue the Holmdel Police Department for at least $1 million for taking an “unlawful” mugshot and making it public.

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