Holden-area school boards fire superintendent

Posted July 30, 2008, at 12 a.m.

HOLDEN, Maine&nbsp- The SAD 63 board and the SAD 63-CSD 8 joint board on Tuesday fired Superintendent Louise Regan, who has been on administrative leave since April pending an investigation into her conduct.

The SAD 63 board and then the joint board met for more than five hours and found that “there is cause to discharge Louise M. Regan & and terminate her employment contract dated July 1, 2007, on the basis of the investigative report and otherwise.”

The two boards also found that Regan’ s contract wording requiring “just cause” is void because it was “placed in the contract by Ms. Regan without the knowledge or consent of the board and is not enforceable” and violates state law.

“Nobody takes a pleasure in this,” said Bryan Dench, the Auburn lawyer representing the SAD 63 board, after the long night of meetings ended after 11 p.m. “It’ s a very painful process and it was very difficult for the board.”

The joint board met and took action, even though no members of the CSD 8 board were in attendance. The CSD 8 board had previously voted not to attend any joint board meetings concerning Regan in order to avoid any legal liability.

Regan’ s attorney argued that since no CSD 8 members were present, no action should be taken. However, Karen Clark, chairwoman of the joint board, explained that “the joint board does work on weighted votes. Even if you factored in all of CSD 8′ s votes, the [SAD 63] votes & would carry” the decision.

“My client takes the position that the action of the SAD 63 board, both on behalf of itself and as well as the joint board, was illegal,” said attorney Thad Zmistowski of Bangor, who represents Regan, after the meeting.

A report by attorney Stephen Wade, who was hired by the SAD 63 board to conduct an investigation into Regan’ s conduct, listed several items of concern including: Regan’ s possession of a district laptop computer, her submitting a school consolidation letter of intent without board approval, school board meeting tapes that she reported stolen, her ordering that a controversial board meeting not be taped, and questions over changes she made to her contract.

Zmistowski called the report a farce and said the board’ s findings are “based on an investigation that was illegal.”

He has stated that because Regan has brought legal action against four of the seven current board members they should not be allowed to review her employment status, a statement adamantly opposed by the board’ s attorney.

“If the majority of the board loses confidence in the superintendent, they have to be able to do something about it,” Dench said. “It’ s sad, but it’ s necessary.”

The SAD 63 meeting started out with Regan’ s attorney attempting to have the four board members disqualified. The four are Chairwoman Linda Goodrich, Vice Chairwoman Karen Clark, Therese Anderson and Robert Kiah.

After Regan’ s attorney gave a lengthy reason why each should be disqualified and handed out documents to support his findings, the full board voted individually to allow them to proceed in the special meeting.

The same occurred during the joint board meeting, which was held directly after the SAD 63 meeting.

Regan was present at the meetings. Her attorney informed the board she would not answer any questions. She also refused to be interviewed as part of Wade’ s investigative report on her conduct.

She declined to comment after the meeting.

nricker@bangordailynews.net

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