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Groton schools chief Kadri could learn fate this week

By Greg Smith

Publication: The Day

Published March 05. 2013 4:00AM
Kadri on leave since May after allegations of abusive behavior

Groton - A decision is expected this week on whether the school board has sufficient grounds to fire School Superintendent Paul Kadri.

Kadri was placed on paid administrative leave in May when the school board ordered an investigation into allegations of his abusive treatment toward school district employees.

A five-day closed door hearing ended in January, and, according to terms of an agreement between Kadri and the school board, the decision of independent hearing officer Timothy Bornstein will be final and binding. The board was initially supposed to oversee the hearing, but agreed to have Bornstein take on the duties following complaints by Kadri of bias by board members.

With time allowed to file briefs and extensions possible, the exact date for a decision is unclear. Kadri's attorney, Gregg Adler, said he expected one on Monday. School board members think the decision may come Wednesday.

An investigation into Kadri was prompted by Alisha Stripling, Kadri's executive assistant, who said she had been subjected to "intense verbal abuse and erratic, frightening physical interactions with Mr. Kadri," according to the investigation conducted by William Blake.

Blake's report revealed a string of complaints against Kadri by more than a dozen current and former employees, most of them women. The complaints of a hostile work environment were similar to the allegations by former Assistant Superintendent Dorothy Hoyt who filed suit against the district in 2010. The board settled that lawsuit out of court for $197,000 and admitted no wrongdoing or liability.

Kadri has maintained he was falsely accused, that the allegations were untrue or overblown and claimed that even during the investigation he was never allowed to tell his side of the story.

Board of Education Chairwoman Kirsten Hoyt, who is not related to Dorothy Hoyt, summed up some of the allegations in a sharply worded letter in September, notifying Kadri his termination was being considered.

The alleged mistreatment, she wrote, "took the form of screaming at them, pounding your fist, belittling and/or chastising employees in front of others, and other behaviors and actions that caused employees to fear for their safety and caused them anxiety, as well as resulted in valued employees resigning and/or retiring earlier than planned."

g.smith@theday.com

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