The proposed termination of a school department supervisor sparked heated debate at Tuesday night’s North Kingstown School Committee meeting.
Members Bill Mudge and Mel Benson called for the termination to be deleted from the agenda. According to Chair Kimberly Page, the item was actually being moved to closed executive session meeting in October at the request of the employee.
The termination was included on the committee’s consent agenda, considered to be routine items.
“It’s troubling to me that we would have the termination of an individual on the consent agenda,” said Mudge, who accused the school department of trying to “sneak it in” the agenda and claimed he was not given the proper supporting materials explaining the termination.
Other school committee members refuted Mudge’s claims that he did not have enough information on the item. Both John Boscardin and Lynda Avanzato told the committee they had made appointments with Superintendent Phil Auger and school administration learn more about the termination, and urged other members to do the same if they needed more information on an agenda item or issue. Committee members also pointed to a letter from the superintendent which “clearly outlined” the issues surrounding the termination
“I’m not going to let the continued misinformation be presented to the community,” said Committee Vice-Chair Larry Ceresi, who also told Mudge, “It’s in your packet. If you read your packet, it’s there.”
The packet, containing agenda items and support materials, is delivered to school committee members by email. Benson, however, receives her packet in hard copy form and claimed during Tuesday night’s meeting that she didn’t receive her packet until Saturday afternoon. She also told the committee and audience that, though her packet did contain Auger’s letter, the backup, supporting material was not included.
Tempers flared as members began speaking over each other, with Boscardin shouting, “This is buffoonery” after Mudge and Benson continued to speak over him. The committee quickly recessed for five minutes.
During citizen’s comments, Boscardin apologized to the audience for his outburst.
“I was totally unprofessional and I was totally out of line and will do my best to make sire it doesn’t happen again,” said Boscardin.
The committee will discuss the proposed termination in closed session in October. At this time, the school department is not releasing any details on the employee in question or the nature of the termination.