21 Aug 2014
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Councilwoman: Frechette Should be Fired

Deborah Klekowski says School Superintendent Michael Frechette should be fired because of his ineffective management and poor administrative performance.

Councilwoman: Frechette Should be Fired Councilwoman: Frechette Should be Fired

Editor's note: Middletown Common Councilwoman Deborah Kleckowski sent this letter to the Board of Education members this morning calling for the termination of School Board Head Michael Frechette's contract. The Board is meeting in executive session tonight at 6 p.m., reportedly to talk about buying out Michael Frechette's contract.

Board of Education members:

I want to express my concern to you prior to tonight's Board meeting. First, there is no doubt that the meeting is going to be difficult, as working with serious personnel matters in not a pleasant experience. I understand that Dr. Frechette may be leaving due to family concerns, which is sad for his daughter. 

Nonetheless, his performance and leadership have been less than optimal and his contract should be terminated. There is no doubt that Dr. Frechette's contract should be terminate immediately. Unfortunately, his administrative decisions have put children and staff in harm's way as has been demonstrated several times with school administrators not calling 911 for gas leaks, fires and severe temperature decreases. 

Additionally, and perhaps most egregious, was the lack of cooperation from the Superintendent to ensure there was proper heat in the during storm Alfred. If you are not aware, the temperature was 50 degrees in the evening putting residents, especially the medically vulnerable and infants, at risk. 

Of course, there is the perpetual labor issues that continue to plague the city and to cost the taxpayers. To date, the remains in her position even though the Department of Labor decided that the position "belonged" to Union . When there was an alleged physical altercation between the business manager and another employee the employee was moved, and the business manager remained with no administrative leave. 

Thus, the BOE not adhering to the zero tolerance policy. To add insult to injury, the attorney's fees for this incident are being paid for by taxpayers! I contend that the payment of the business manager's legal fees for the above mentioned matter is a miss use of public funds and the practice should be terminated immediately and fees already paid to the attorney be repaid to the city of  Middletown. 

The list of grievances not reconciled is long. However, I bring to your attention to specific instances that demonstrate cause for an ineffective superintendent and require immediate dismissal. 

First, two years ago, 466 offered to donate sick days to a cafe worker who was seriously ill. Upon receiving a requested MOU from the business manager, Nancy Haynes, the business manager and Dr. Michael Frechette decided not to honor the MOU and declined the sick day donation. This action was reprehensible. 

It was inhumane! Finally, the worker received the donated time, the city had to take the matter to court, but in typical BOE form, many fees were taken from the donation leaving the worker a few hundreds dollars short of the expected amount. The city stepped up and the voted for an appropriation to make the employee whole. 

Are these the type of people we ant leading our schools? And, now, Josh Berger, son in-law of , is working at the BOE beyond the 90 day allowance. 

And, remember his initial hire where he was offered "teacher benefits"? The  BOE Administration hires inappropriately, they decline certified candidates without cause, they maneuver and manipulate like trained reconnaissance soldiers hiding under the protection of State Stature 10-220. One Million dollars has been overspent. 

Seems as if there has been no accountability from the BOE administration. "Scream Rooms" — I agree time-out/calming room are needed.  But really, open electrical boxes, no padding? 

The mismanagement and ineffective management and continued poor administrative performance, unfortunately determines only one conclusion, Dr. Frechette's contract must be terminated immediately by "mutual consent," as stated under section 6.

Termination section a, contract (6/28/11), signed by Corrine Gill. According the the 2011 contract (original 5-19-05) there is no obligation for a "buyout." This entire ordeal has been difficult on employees, I am sure Dr. Frechette's family and the entire community. 

I urge you to mutually sever the contract only granting sick and vacation time.  There is no reason to provide any additional financial compensation. I wish you the best this evening as I am sure the meeting will be emotionally charged.  Lastly, thank you for your service to the community! 

Deborah Kleckowski
Middletown Common Council Member

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