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Bethlehem School Board hires former judge to conduct investigation involving the school district

Bethlehem Area School District Education Center.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Bethlehem Area School Board voted without opposition Monday night to hire retired Judge Emil Giordano of the Norris McLaughlin law firm to conduct an investigation "involving the Bethlehem Area School District," according to an agreement letter from Giordano. The district will pay him $495 per hour for this work.

Exactly what he will be investigating is unclear and is not indicated in the letter. Superintendent Joseph Roy confirmed earlier this month what he described as “a specific, unfounded allegation” about him, and said he was working with the school district’s solicitor to address it.

Roy has also said that rumors that he planned to resign were false.

  • Bethlehem School Board voted to approve hiring a retired judge to do an investigation related to the school district
  • Superintendent Joseph Roy said he is the target of an unfounded and false allegation
  • Former Judge Emil Giordano will be paid about $500/hour

“The source of these rumors is unknown, but obviously someone with ill intent is spreading them,” Roy said in a Nov. 6 email statement.

“The source of these rumors is unknown, but obviously someone with ill intent is spreading them."
Dr. Joseph Roy, superintendent of Bethlehem Area School District

Following the vote, Bethlehem School Board President Michael Faccinetto initially said he could not comment on why the board hired the judge, or the subject of the investigation. When pressed, Faccinetto indicated that it was for a personnel matter involving the superintendent.

Faccinetto said in an email on Nov. 6 that the board was aware of "the incident and was conducting an investigation," when asked about an alleged incident between Dr. Roy and a district employee. Any official action the board takes must be done in public and the board had not met since Oct. 24.

Faccinetto said investigative actions by the board that do not require a public vote include gathering information and having informal discussions among members. The board has met in executive session three times since early November, on Nov. 7, 14 and 21.

Giordano's practice focuses on estate and commercial litigation, and mediation and arbitration. He served as the presiding judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County in the Third Judicial District 2005-2018, when he resigned to return to private practice. He was also Northampton County’s first administrative Judge of the Orphans’ County Division.

Read the district's agreement with Norris McLaughlin below: