The lawyer for the Groton Board of Education has negotiated an agreement with Superintendent Paul Kadri’s that would allow his termination hearing to be conducted by an independent arbitrator.
The agreement, dated Oct. 25, said Timothy Bornstein would handle the dispute through arbitration and his decision would be final and binding on the parties.
The hearing scheduled for Tuesday has been canceled. The new hearing dates are Nov. 20, Dec. 11, Dec. 14 and Dec. 20 in the Town Hall Annex. The hearings would be closed to the public.
The board had initially denied Kadri’s request for a neutral third party, but his lawyer, Gregg Adler, then wrote a letter outlining why he believes board members would not be objective.
Adler said Kadri would go through the hearing process anyway if the board insisted on handling it, but then would likely sue for violation of due process.
Floyd Dugas, the school board’s lawyer, negotiated the new agreement on the school board’s behalf. The board denied in the agreement that it had predetermined what would happen.
“The Board has agreed to this out of an abundance of caution and to remove any argument that the party deciding the case had predetermined the outcome and therefore denied Mr. Kadri due process,” said an e-mail by School Board Chairwoman Kirsten Hoyt.
Under the agreement, post hearing briefs would be due two weeks after the last hearing, and no replies would be allowed. The arbitrator would make a decision within 30 days of receiving the briefs.
Kadri has been on paid administrative leave since May, pending the outcome of an investigation of his conduct with employees. The investigation was released in August and in it, multiple employees accused him of abusive and threatening behavior. Kadri later issued a response, and has said the allegations are untrue.
The board notified him in a Sept. 10 letter that it is considering terminating his contract for three reasons, including “insubordination against the rules or order of the board” and “moral misconduct.”
Under the arbitrator agreement, Kadri would pay $500 toward the cost of he arbitrator, and the school board would pay the balance. The cost of a transcriptionist would be split equally between Kadri and the board. Each side would pay their own costs they incur for the proceedings.