New Ken-Arnold superintendent is recuperating after heart attack
New Kensington-Arnold School District Superintendent John Pallone is on medical leave after suffering a heart attack, but he expects to be back on the job soon.
“I had a heart attack and open heart surgery, and I’m coming back,” Pallone said when contacted Thursday.
He said the heart attack did not occur at school. He also said he is at home recuperating and remains involved with the district’s operations.
“Nothing has changed,” he said. “The day-to-day business is being addressed by the administrative staff. I’m in contact with my administrators on a day-to-day basis. In fact, I helped prepare the agenda for tonight’s (school board) meeting.”
Following that meeting, school board President Bob Pallone, John’s brother, and Anthony Vigilante, the district’s solicitor, confirmed that John is actively involved with the district while recuperating.
“John is available on a day-to-day basis to answer questions and for consultation with the administrative staff,” Vigilante said.
Neither he nor Bob Pallone would discuss what the superintendent’s health issue is, citing confidentiality under federal health care laws. Bob Pallone said that is why the district has not made an announcement about its superintendent, whom he said has been on leave for eight days.
“We can’t. We’re not allowed,” Bob Pallone said. “You can’t discuss someone’s health condition.”
Vigilante said that while John Pallone is on leave, Assistant Superintendent Jon Banko is filling in for him.
The board has not made Banko acting superintendent, and John Pallone said there is no need for that.
“The school code says you only appoint someone when the superintendent is incapacitated,” Pallone said. “I’ll be back soon. I am not incapacitated.”
He said he is feeling well but has not talked to his physician regarding his physical condition. Therefore, he said, he does not have a firm timetable for his return to work but believes it will be in a matter of a few weeks.
Tom Yerace is a freelance writer.