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A former New York City official blamed for the city's recent $80 million asbestos-cleanup debacle has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for falsifying asbestos-inspection records.

Robert Pardi, the former director of the city school board's asbestos task force, had said he directed his staff to falsify asbestos-inspection reports because he wanted to meet the deadlines for completing the task in the hope of winning a promotion.

In sentencing Mr. Pardi--who had pleaded guilty to three federal charges in connection with the filing of false reports--a U.S. District Court judge last month acknowledged that he was "not really a criminal'' but nonetheless denied him leniency because his actions endangered children and teachers.

The discovery of the bogus records led the city to postpone last fall's opening of schools to allow for emergency inspections and cleanups. (See Education Week, Sept. 8, 1993.)

Candidate Withdraws: Mary Lee Fitzgerald, one of three remaining finalists for the superintendency of the Philadelphia public schools, has withdrawn her candidacy. (See Education Week, April 13, 1994.)

Ms. Fitzgerald, a former New Jersey education commissioner and the superintendent of the Montclair, N.J., schools, said her decision was based on Mayor Edward Rendell's endorsement of David Hornbeck, a prominent education consultant, for the job.

The school board was expected to meet with Mr. Hornbeck and Arthur Walton, a top official in the New York education department, this week. A decision is expected next week.

A fourth finalist, John Murphy, the superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., schools, withdrew earlier.

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