The Groton Board of Education is facing a difficult choice with respect to Superintendent Paul Kadri: Ask him to resign and end the investigation if he accepts, or let the investigation conclude, become public, and then decide what to do.
School Board Member Bob Peruzzotti said the lawyer for the school board explained that once the investigation is completed and given to anyone – either Kadri’s lawyer or a member of the school board – it is in the public domain. That means any accusations against Kadri and the names of people involved in disputes with him could be publicly aired.
“Once the report is final and issued, then the board reads it and decides whether they want to convene to see if they feel it is enough for us to decide to try to terminate his contract,” Peruzzotti said. “Then Paul has the option of coming back and having litigation against us.”
Investigation Nearing End
The school board , pending an investigation of his "interactions with and treatment of district employees." Board members have made no public comment since then about the decision.
But the investigation is nearing its end. The board met in executive session July 9 and on Monday to discuss the status, and a final report is expected by the end of this week or early next week, board members said.
School Board Chairwoman Kirsten Hoyt said the report is being written but has not yet been received. She declined to say who was conducting the investigation. She said the lawyer for the school board, Floyd Dugas, was available by conference call during Monday’s executive session.
Peruzzotti said he doesn’t know what’s in the report or whether the board’s lawyer has contacted Kadri’s attorney.
“If his lawyer asks him to resign and he says no, then the report would be issued. I would not like to see that happen,” Peruzzotti said. He said people interviewed about Kadri might also want the investigation to end.
“They’d probably be just as happy if he said ‘I’m going to let this thing die and I’m just going to leave.’ I think that would be best for everybody. I think it’s best for him, for the people, for everybody,” Peruzzotti said.
'A Neutral Party'
One school board member said in an e-mail obtained by Patch that she is upset about how discussions about the investigation occurred.
Under the subject line, “deal making,” Board Member Shelley Gardner wrote on July 15:
“I do not feel comfortable meeting on Monday evening without our attorney physically present. I do not believe that it is the role of the chairwoman, in this case, to act as the conveyor of information/options between the board members and the attorney (whom we pay) to discuss a person that we have had investigated.
“I also feel strongly that the chairpersons and the majority on this board have been negligent in their roles as board members by allowing the continued inappropriateness to occur at Central Office which lead to this investigation.
“We must demand a neutral party to negotiate any future deals.”
The Board Chair's Job
Hoyt said it is her duty as board chairwoman is to forward information from the lawyer to other school board members.
“My job as a board of education chairman is to facilitate information, to make sure that all of our information gets to all of the board members, to make sure that all of the board members have enough information to make an educated decision,” she said.
. He managed the district through two difficult budget years, delivering zero percent increases without layoffs, but also angered some parents, teachers and administrators, and was sued by a former employee.
The New London Day reported Tuesday that Dugas warned board members in an e-mail that Kadri might try to retaliate or seek a large settlement once the report becomes public.
“I strongly suspect that once the report becomes public Paul will … sue the board and look for a large settlement to reflect the fat that he will have difficulty finding work. I also think he is more likely to engage in retaliation against certain witnesses,” the paper quoted the e-mail as saying.
Hoyt said she was disappointed that a board member would release an e-mail that could jeopardize the investigation.
“I feel that it was a huge breach of confidentiality," she said. "And it was completely unethical.”