Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.
-Woody Guthrie, “Pretty Boy Floyd”
The mission statement on the web page of the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit says it’s a service agency with a goal to “educate all students through education, collaboration, and innovation.” Educating students through education sounds a bit redundant. However, students should study the textbook case of its former director, Dr. Fred Rosetti, who could give a primer in the finer points of Entitlement 101.
Sarah Hofius-Hall of The Scranton Times-Tribune has written some of the most eye-opening accounts of Dr. Rosetti’s penchant for the finer things in life, ill gotten gains enjoyed on the aching backs of the area’s taxpayers. “Dr.” Rosetti racked up $18k in phony travel expenses, threatening to fire employees who wouldn’t play along. Hofius-Hall reported these records only show five years of malfeasance, due to the fact other records were destroyed.
But, Dr. Rosetti didn’t stop there. He thought nothing of mailing out packages on the taxpayer’s dime, using the school’s American Express card for unauthorized purchases of $2k and buying gift certificates for his NEIU favorites.
Dr. Rosetti went on golf retreats to help these children, and off to Gubbio, Italy, where he reportedly racked up a charge of $117.25 in a bar, perhaps while trying to get a good deal on art supplies.
Dr. Rosetti’s final exit from the NEIU may have been the log that broke the taxpayer’s eye socket, however. He requested a $623,000 (you read it right) payout, including a request for $480,000 in unused vacation and sick time.
Enter “No Nonsense” Louise Brzuchalski of the Abington Heights School Board. A trained accountant, Brzuchalski read a letter at the AH Board meeting when Rosetti’s retirement was announced, openly questioning the validity of the posh payout. Needless to say, Brzuchalski faced demonization and intimidation for speaking truth to power. Rosetti’s henchman also tried to shut some other people up too, with threats to sue them. Cough, cough.
Many thought Rosetti was set to skate through a cushy plea agreement, with the government consenting to a 12 to 18 month prison sentence in exchange for sparing the public the expense of a good old fashioned trial, which probably would have caused blood pressure medicine sales to spike but would have had a predictable conclusion. So, the stage was set for a sentencing, until Judge Robert D. Mariani rejected the plea on Friday, calling Rosetti’s white collar crime spree “longstanding, pervasive and wide-ranging.”
To hear such an outstanding and accurate choice of words to describe this well-heeled thief does one’s heart good. At the top of the page are the lyrics to Woody Guthrie’s often covered ballad, “Pretty Boy Floyd.” That bandit reportedly got his charming nickname from an eyewitness to one of his numerous bank robberies, exclaiming the criminal was “a pretty boy with apple cheeks.”
The same kind of language could be used to describe Pretty Boy Fred Rosetti. Who would suspect this cousin of “The Prince of Peckville,” Bob Mellow, of being anything but a stand up guy whose main concern was to make sure kids with special needs received all they could get from the system? Pretty Boy Fred is the kind of wolf in executive’s clothing that might make a nice poster boy for just punishment.