John O’Mahoney, the current interim principal of Sheepshead Bay High School, has been fined $4,000 after admitting to pressuring the principal of another school to hire his wife, and then demanding they keep her on staff despite school-wide budget cuts.
At the time, O’Mahoney was working as a “network leader” for several schools, including the one from which his wife was to be let go. Network leaders have an influential role over school-wide hiring and other policies.
His wife was laid off in June 2011 due to a budget crunch, and O’Mahoney called the principal to say, “my wife’s position could not be excessed,” according to New York City’s Conflicts of Interest Board paperwork reported on by the New York Post.
O’Mahoney left his position as network leader and was hired as the principal of Sheepshead Bay High School last year, amid proceedings to close the school and reopen in with new staff and new name. He took over for principal Reesa Levy, who left in December 2011.
Both acts are a violation of the city’s ethics laws and O’Mahoney has been told to pay a $4,000 fine.
O’Mahoney position as principal is under review. A department spokesperson told GothamSchools that it is “taking this seriously and reviewing the findings.”
Sheepshead Bay High School was one of 24 “turnaround” high schools that were set to be closed, and then reopened in the fall, as the Academy of Career Exploration of Sheepshead Bay. That decision had since been halted after a court arbitrator slammed brakes on that plan.
It is still unclear if the name changes will still take effect if the decision is reversed.