Intimidation, verbal abuse were focus of Kadri probe

Groton - The Board of Education released the investigator's report into the superintendent of schools but did not take any action on it Monday night.

The law firm of Harlow, Adams & Friedman in Milford was hired to look into Superintendent of Schools Paul Kadri's treatment of district employees. He was accused of sexual and age discrimination, intimidation, verbal abuse and unethical behavior, including requiring one employee to do personal errands, the report said. Kadri was placed on paid administrative leave in May.

Ten current employees, including Kadri, and four former employees were interviewed. The firm also reviewed a complaint filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and spoke with the superintendent of another district.

Employees reported that during one-on-one meetings Kadri lost his temper, turned red, slammed the table and yelled.

The complaint that led to the investigation was made by an employee to the district's director of human resources. She reported "intense verbal abuse and erratic, frightening physical interactions" with Kadri and said she could not continue working, according to the report.

In his two interviews, Kadri, who was represented by a lawyer, denied he had acted improperly and called the investigation "surreal," the report said. He told the interviewer he is very enthusiastic, his voice is loud and he shakes his hands and arms to make his points, it said.

The firm was not asked to provide the board with any recommendation for action. Kirsten E. Hoyt, the board chairwoman who provided a copy of the report to The Day after the meeting, said "there can be no board comment on this at this time." The report is on the board's agenda to be discussed Thursday.

The board extended the contract on Monday night of interim Superintendent of Schools Randy Collins to Sept. 28. His contract was set to expire Friday. He has held the post since Kadri was placed on leave.

Collins said after the meeting he will be traveling each week in October because of consulting work he previously committed to, and he advised the board to find someone else past September.

The board approved the extension 6 to 1. Shelley Gardner, who voted no, said she did not have a problem with Collins staying, but she took issue with some financial stipulations in the contract.

j.mcdermott@theday.com

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