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Legal Issues For School Administrator

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

A Glenwood Community School District administrator was arrested last month on a nearly two-year-old Page County warrant for fifth-degree theft.

Joseph Giangreco, the district’s director of student services, was stopped for an alleged traffic violation by Glenwood Police on Aug. 23. When officers ran a check on Giangreco’s license, it was discovered he was wanted in Page County on an outstanding warrant for writing a check on insufficient funds in December 2011. Officers subsequently discovered Giangreco was operating the vehicle with a suspended driver’s license.

Giangreco was booked into the Mills County Jail and later released after posting a $650 cash bond. The Page County warrant was issued in February 2012 after Giangreco failed to appear for a court appearance relating to the theft charge.

Following his arrest in Glenwood, Giangreco appeared Aug. 26 in Page County Court to address the theft charge. The charge was dismissed with the stipulation Giangreco pay restitution and court administrative costs. The penalties were secured from the cash bond Giangreco posted in Mills County.

Giangreco was back in court Friday, Aug. 30, in front of Mills County Magistrate Lyle Mayberry, seeking more time to clear up the suspended driver’s license matter. Mayberry granted a continuance until Oct. 4, giving Giangreco additional time to “restore his driver’s license,” according to Mills County Attorney Eric Hansen.

Hansen declined to discuss the specifics of Giangreco’s driving record, but acknowledged he was “missing some requirements for restoring his driver’s license” following a 2009 conviction for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (O.W.I.) in Pottawattamie County. He later pleaded guilty to that charge and was sentenced to one year probation, fined $1,875 and given a 30-day suspended jail sentence. State law mandates all O.W.I. offenses include a mandatory 180-day driver’s license suspension, Hansen said.

To restore a driver’s license following an O.W.I. suspension, according to Hansen, the driver must take an alcohol and driving course, have a substance abuse evaluation, acquire SR22 insurance, pay a $200 reinstatement fee and not have traffic violations during the suspension.

“He met some (requirements), just not all,” the Mills County Attorney said. “He had it restored briefly, but he’s not been a valid driver for a while. It’s mostly administrative items between Mr. Giangreco and the DOT (Department of Transportation).”

Hansen added it’s not unusual in these cases where the driver is lacking administrative approval to be given time to restore his license by clearing the matter up with the DOT.

“He (Giangreco) hasn’t spoken to me (about a deal) but a week should be enough for him to clear it up and get it restored,” Hansen said. “We prefer to get drivers back legally driving and not out there without a license. If he gets that done he will have to pay court costs and any other legal fees, but we would likely drop the charges.”

Giangreco notified his boss, Glenwood Superintendent Devin Embray of his arrest for the outstanding Page County warrant on Monday. Embray said Giangreco never discussed his driving status at that meeting nor was he aware Giangreco did not have a valid driver’s license. It was not until Friday the superintendent was informed, by the Glenwood Police Department, of Giangreco’s arrest for operating a vehicle with a suspended license.

Embray does not consider Giangreco’s case a personnel matter at this time.

“His job performance at the school district and what he does for the district is. This is probably more of a police matter at this point than a school matter,” Embray said. “Being made aware today that he’s on a suspended license may impact how he performs his job duties, seeing how he has to drive from building to building. That’s something he’ll have to figure out.”

Embray said he was aware of Giangreco’s 2009 O.W.I.

Giangreco was hired as student services director in June 2009. Two weeks after his official hiring, Giangreco pleaded guilty to the O.W.I. charge. Embray, who was hired in 2010, said he didn’t know if the school district was aware of the O.W.I. charge at the time of Giangreco’s hiring.
Embray said he was not aware of Giangreco ever having driven a school vehicle since his hiring.

Multiple telephone messages left for Giangreco were not returned.