Emails show Raucci taunting staff over requests
SCHENECTADY A request came in from an assistant superintendent’s secretary to move a heavy magnetic board in April 2005 and Steve Raucci apparently decided it was time to have some fun.
No, he replied to the secretary’s email, what did she think Raucci did all day? Wait for such requests?
Was he the district “lob?”
“I’m sick and tire (sic) of this kind of treatment and I’m getting fed up with feeling like an errand boy,” Raucci wrote, continuing and self-censoring his last word. “I’m a person first, and an employee second and that’s the way I expect to be treated. If you or anyone else in your office don’t like it TOUGH S_ _T.”
Apparently his response was a joke.
“(What do you think? Sounded pretty good, huh?)” Raucci immediately wrote. “I’ll have someone up there first thing in the morning.”
Raucci’s response was dated April 27, 2005.
In the Raucci time line of events, the exchange came as he personally fumed against a couple he believed were behind an anonymous letter that attempted to blow the whistle on his status as union head and facilities manager.
That couple, Harold and Deborah Gray, woke up on May 1, 2005, to find their home vandalized with paint, almost no surface left untouched.
The email was among the latest batch reviewed by The Daily Gazette as part of a lawsuit settlement with the school district.
Raucci, 62, was convicted in April 2010 of first-degree arson and 17 other counts.
He served as the city school district facilities manager and also led the union unit representing the workers he supervised. It was a dual position that prosecutors said made him valuable to the school administration for his ability to keep labor peace.
He also saw his salary rise as he served as district energy manager and kept energy costs low.
Prosecutors contended he took that position after first making the previous energy manager look bad by deliberately wasting energy. He then took extreme measures, once he got the job, to keep usage low and make himself look good.
The latest group of emails included possible examples of both, and one that appeared not to fit. The group also seemed to focus on Central Park Middle School.
In November 2003, as Raucci was still trying to wrestle control of the energy manager position and discredit the old manager, there was a report of a Central Park classroom over 80 degrees with the windows open, though there was no indication in the exchange what caused the malfunction. Raucci responded he would send someone to fix it.
Then, in November 2007, there was a complaint from a Central Park parent that there was no heat in her daughter’s classroom. Christine Kochem, the same assistant superintendent secretary in the April 2005 apparent Raucci joke email, relayed the information.
Raucci’s response centered on the teacher, whom the parent relayed had allegedly told the child there would be no heat until spring.
Raucci took it as an opportunity to take a swipe at teachers, suggesting they didn’t help passing budgets.
“It’s bad enough that they [teachers] do not help out or support us when it comes to passing our budgets, bonds or referendums,” Raucci wrote, “but we do not need them working against us.”
On April 28, 2005, Raucci responded to a question from Central Park’s then-Principal Mary Ozarowski about an employee’s space heater being taken from a classroom. He repeated the policy against space heaters, for energy conservation and safety reasons.
But in a June 2005, after becoming energy manager, Raucci suggested he would turn a blind eye to a Central Park dean of students bringing in an air conditioning unit, as part of another email exchange with Ozarowski.
The school district is making Raucci’s emails available under the terms of an out-of-court settlement with The Daily Gazette and the Times Union. The public is not allowed direct access to the documents, but reporters are allowed to make copies with handheld scanners for the next three months. There are more than 11,000 pages.