The Groton School Board voted Thursday to inform Superintendent Paul Kadri that it's considering terminating his contract.
The board voted 8-0 to direct its lawyer, Floyd Dugas, to send a letter which explains that it's considering termination and the reasons why, and begin the formal process.
The board did not discuss the reason for its decision and the meeting was over in five minutes. Board member Chaz Zezulka is on vacation and was absent for the vote.
The meeting had been expected to be held in executive session, but Kadri was present with his lawyer and asked that it be open to the public.
“It seems likely that they must have discussed this in advance,” Gregg Adler, Kadri’s lawyer, said after. “We were just hoping that having the meeting open would have allowed for some discourse.”
Once Kadri receives the letter, he has 20 days to request a formal hearing.
Kadri was placed on paid administrative leave in May, pending the outcome of an investigation of his conduct with employees. The investigation was released Monday and in it, . On Tuesday, , saying the allegations are untrue.
Dugas offered the board three options during the meeting Thursday night: do nothing, take disciplinary action short of termination, or consider terminating Kadri's contract, which requires a formal letter. The board chose option three.
School Board Member Beth Gianacoplos said later: "Based on the investigative report, I think it's necessary to start that process."
The board cannot fire Kadri, but must hold a formal hearing in which he is allowed to cross examine his accusers, Adler said.
He said the process is complicated, because the board must act essentially as judge. Give this, the board might opt to hire a third law firm to prosecute the case and have Dugas represent the board as the decision maker.
Adler said conflicts between superintendents and school boards rarely go this far, because they're typically settled through a portion of the contract payment or the board waits for the contract to end.
Adler said he and Dugas said had some discussion about potential settlements before the investigative report was released, but did not reach agreement.
Once the hearing is done, the question would be whether it was fair or not. If not, the next step would be a complaint filed in federal court.
"He's entitled to a full and fair hearing with a decision maker who can conduct that hearing with an open mind, and I already don't think that's possible," Adler said.