Ocello bids farewell to Mehlville staff, board

Board OKs contract to resurface high school track.

Micheal Ocello

Micheal Ocello

By EVAN YOUNG

Micheal Ocello bid farewell last week to Mehlville School District officials, staff and fellow Board of Education members at what likely was his final board meeting before resigning his seat and moving out of the district.

Ocello announced in February he and his wife planned to sell their Oakville house and move to Creve Coeur after the April 5 election.

He submitted a resignation letter last week contingent upon closing the sale of his home, which he anticipated would take place this week.

The school board tentatively plans to vote on Ocello’s resignation when it meets May 12 and, if it’s approved, announce the vacancy at its May 19 meeting, President Venki Palamand said.

Board policy states residents interested in applying for a vacant seat have two weeks from the announcement of the vacancy to send a letter to the board secretary.

Whoever is appointed to Ocello’s seat will serve until the April 2012 election, when the term expires.

Ocello, 51, was elected to the school board in 2006 and won a second, three-year term in 2009.

“This has been for me truly a great honor. I appreciate the confidence and trust that people put in me, the voters. To elect a guy who comes from the business world that I come from was certainly a challenge for a lot of people,” said Ocello, who is president and chief operating officer of VCG Holding Corp., which owns and operates adult nightclubs throughout the United States.

“Hopefully they haven’t been disappointed with the things that I’ve done or have tried to do while I’ve been on the board.”

Of his fellow board members and district administrators, faculty and staff, Ocello said, “I’ve never met a group of people that are so committed to a singular cause, to such an important goal, than these folks that I’ve met.”

He wished the remaining board members luck and offered them the criteria on which he said he’s based his decisions on the board the past five years: “…What would I do for my kid? What is right for my grandson who goes to this school district? I’ve always believed that if I kept that in mind I’d always make good decisions for everyone else’s kids …

“This is such an important job because these kids only have one shot at an education. One time. That’s an awesome responsibility, and I’m proud that I’ve had the opportunity to do it.”

In other business during the April 21 meeting, the board:

• Voted 7-0 to award a $7,365.49 contract to ICS Construction for the replacement of worn carpet in the lower commons of Mehlville Senior High School with vinyl flooring.

• Voted 7-0 to award a $61,871 contract to Byrne & Jones Construction to resurface the track at Oakville Senior High School.

The maintenance project will protect the track’s rubberized surface from ultraviolet rays and ensure its viability for another five years, Director of Facilities Steve Habeck said, noting that the alternative — complete track replacement — could cost the district as much as $400,000.

• Voted 7-0 to name Document and Network Technologies the district’s copier and print shop manager as of July 1.

The firm’s bid — based on 62 machines, 43 million black-and-white copies and 100,000 color copies — was the lowest of six submitted, including one from the district’s current printer, IKON.

DNT will charge $315,924 annually — $26,327 a month — compared to IKON’s bid of $332,160 annually — $27,680 a month. The Mehlville School District currently spends $546,000 a year — $45,500 a month — with IKON, which means the new five-year contract will result in more than $230,000 in annual savings.