Attorney: School official to get help

LATHAM – Gloversville Enlarged School District Assistant Superintendent Frank Pickus, who was charged in Colonie Sunday with having methamphetamine, will get treatment for his “fairly recent” addiction, his attorney said.

“The allegation is a person’s struggle with addiction and has never had anything to do with his job,” attorney Michael McDermott of Albany said. “The [district attorney’s] office knows that, the police know that and the disposition will reflect that fact.”

Pickus pleaded not guilty before Judge Peter Crummey in Colonie Justice Court on Wednesday.

Pickus, Gloversville Enlarged School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, was charged by Colonie police with being in possession of methamphetamine after a traffic stop, police said.

Pickus stood quietly before Crummey with his hands clasped in front of him while his attorney spoke to the judge before quickly exiting the courtroom after his arraignment.

Pickus declined to comment.

McDermott said this morning his client’s treatment will not require a court order.

He declined to be more specific about the treatment or the addiction, stating the need for privacy of his client’s health.

The case will be handled by Albany County Assistant District Attorney Joseph Brucato. A call to his office wasn’t returned this morning.

Pickus, 57, of 16 Moore Ave., Saratoga Springs, was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors, and traffic infractions.

According to Colonie police Lt. Robert Winn, Pickus was stopped at 6:14 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of Starbucks on Troy Schenectady Road for traffic infractions.

Officers found he was in possession of a small quantity of methamphetamine along with other drug paraphernalia, Winn said.

Officers on the scene determined Pickus wasn’t impaired.

Winn said one bag was found on Pickus while another bag and the paraphernalia were found in the vehicle.

Winn said the aggregate weight of the controlled substance, including the bags, was 4.2 grams.

Pickus was released on an appearance ticket.

The school district has placed Pickus on paid leave.

District Superintendent Michael Vanyo said district administrators, including himself, temporarily will share the duties of administrator Pickus.

Vanyo said Pickus is a “jack of all trades” at the district in his role as assistant superintendent. The job includes working directly with principals and teachers, developing and improving specific curriculum such as reading and writing programs, overseeing grade-level meetings and overseeing grants for the district.

Vanyo declined to comment on the district’s drug-screening policy regarding teachers and administrators.

State Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman said other than bus drivers, district employees are not legally required to be drug tested.

Pickus is scheduled to return to Colonie Justice Court on April 16 at 6 p.m.