All 20 Departmental Charges Against Suffern’s Suspended Superintendent Revealed

All 20 Departmental Charges Against Suffern’s  Suspended Superintendent Revealed

Charges Revealed in Court Filings; MULTIPLE Wiretapping Charges, Attempt to Wipe a Hard Drive Clean and Use of Illegally Obtained Recordings to Remove Former Board President Among the Allegations 

Speculation and unfounded allegations have been swirling around some Suffern Central School District Board members since Suffern Central School District Superintendent Dr. Douglas Adams was suspended by the Board on March 7th of this year.

The charges against Adams were confidential. Despite claiming to want the hearing held publicly, Adams was the only person who could release the charges until now and he had declined to do so.  On November 18th, Adams’ attorney, Richard Ellsworth, filed a lawsuit against the SCSD Board and their outside council for labor and employment, Shaw, Perelson, May & Lambert, seeking their removal as council for the District to prosecute the departmental charges against Adams citing a conflict of interest.

The formal charges against Adams were included as an exhibit and go further than previously thought.  Adams allegedly had his secretary transcribe illegally recorded conversations, many of which the Board claims took place when Adams wasn’t present.

It has been alleged that Adams illegally recorded executive session when he wasn’t present and had his secretary transcribe the recording during business hours and used this information in a Petition to the Commissioner of Education to have the now former President of the School Board removed from the Board.

All 20 of the departmental charges against Adams have been transcribed below:

Re-amended notice of disciplinary charges

Please take notice that the Board of Education found probable cause in an executive session held on March 7, 2019 to convene disciplinary proceedings against you on the charges set forth below and by resolution voted upon in public session on March 7, 2019 determine that you will be suspended from your position with full pay and benefits, during the pendency of the disciplinary proceedings. Today, the board voted additional charges VI through XX that are supplemental to the original five charges that were voted on March 7, 2019. The hearing will be scheduled pursuant to the provisions in your employment contract. You’re entitled to at least 20 days notice of these and any subsequent charges ahead of the hearing date.

Please take further notice that these charges may be amended or attitude by the Board of Education after 20 days prior to the first day of hearing.

Charge I

Despite knowledge of the complaints against (redacted) received by the Superintendent of Schools as early as in the fall of 2017 and is recently is during the months of January and February 2019, the Superintendent failed to affectively supervise or implement DASA and Title IX processes to ensure the safety and or well-being of female students at the Suffern High School.

Charge II

During the months of January and/or February 2019 the Superintendent failed to recommend an investigation to determine whether or not education law section 3020 – a disciplinary proceeding should be commenced against the redacted to address alleged violations of DASA and Title IX, when instead he supported the issuance of a counseling memo.

Charge III

During the month of November 2018 The Superintendent failed to provide the Board of Education with requested economic data and comparative data when placing for a board vote at it’s November 20, 2018 meeting a proposed four year agreement with the Suffern Education Association that addressed only salary increases, disregarding the boards fiduciary duty.

Charge IV

During the months of December 2018 and/or January 2019 and/or February 2019 the Superintendent of Schools obstructed the efforts of the Board of Education to secure a special audit of the cost implications of the 2019 to 2023 contract settlement reached with the Suffern Education Association that was voted upon at the board meeting held on November 20, 2018.

Charge V

During the month of February 2019, the superintendent of schools obstructed the efforts of the Board of Education to enter into a cross-contract with the Putnam/ Northern Westchester BOCES for an investigation of alleged email breaches of confidential information, the scope of which would include him.

Charge VI

On or about October 17, 2017, the Superintendent of Schools voice recorded the executive sessions of Board of Education meetings and had the voice recordings transcribed by his secretary, who did not have Board of Education consent to be privy to executive session discussions.

Charge VII

On or about November 7, 2017, the Superintendent of Schools voice recorded the executive sessions of Board of Education meetings and had the voice recordings transcribed by his secretary, who did not have Board of Education consent to be privy to executive session discussions.

Charge VIII

On or about September 4, 2018 the Superintendent of Schools, voice recorded the executive sessions of Board of Education meetings and had the voice recordings transcribed by his secretary, who did not have Board of Education consent to be privy to executive session discussions. 

Charge IX

On about October 17, 2017 and/or November 7, 2017 and/or September 4, 2018 the Superintendent of Schools voice recorded the executive sessions of the Board of Education meetings and had the voice recordings transcribed by his secretary, who did not have Board of Education consent to be privy to executive session discussions. The Superintendent of School’s actions, as described above, belie his role model status for the students of the Suffern Central School District.

Charge X

The Superintendent of Schools on September 4, 2018, voice record of the executive session of Board of Education meetings at a time when he was not present in the executive session meeting room and without the consent of any other persons present therein.

Charge XI

The Superintendent of Schools on September 4, 2018, voice record of the executive session of Board of Education meetings at a time when he was not present in the executive session meeting room without the consent of any of the persons present therein. Such action constitutes the elements of a crime of eavesdropping, New York State penal law §250.05, a Class E Felony.

Charge XII

The Superintendent of Schools on September 4, 2018, voice record of the executive session of Board of Education meetings at a time when he was not present in the executive session meeting room and without the consent of any other persons present therein. Such action constitute the elements of a crime of eaves dropping dropping, New York state penal law §250.05, a Class E Felony. The Superintendent of Schools actions as described above belie his role model status for the students of the Suffern Central School District.

Charge XIII

On or about October 17, 2017 the Superintendent of Schools voice recorded the executive session part of the Board of Education meeting, unbeknownst to one or more of the members of the board. When he was excused from the meeting with the voice recording continuing, the term of the renewal of his employment was being discussed in the context of evaluative information about him.

Charge XIV

On about October 17 2017, The Superintendent of Schools voice recorded the executive session part of the Board of Education meeting, unbeknownst to one or more members of the board. When he was excused from the meeting, with the voice recording continuing, the renewal of his employment was being discussed in the context of a evaluative information about him. The Superintendent of Schools actions as described above belie his role model status for the students of the Suffern Central School District.

Charge XV

On about November 7, 2017, the Superintendent of Schools voice recorded the executive session part of the Board of Education meeting, unbeknownst to one or more members of the board. When he was excused from the meeting, with the voice recording continuing, his actions in addressing a DASA and/or personnel issue was being discussed by the board.

Charge XVI

On or about November 7, 2017, the Superintendent of Schools voice record of the executive session part of the Board of Education meeting, unbeknownst to one or more members of the board. When he was excused from the meeting, with the voice recording continuing, his actions in addressing a DASA and/or personnel issue were being discussed by the Board. The Superintendent of School’s actions as described above belie his role model status for students of the Suffern Central School District.

Charge XVII

On or about February 28, 2019, the Superintendent of Schools had his secretary, during her work hours, transcribe part of the proceedings of the Board of Education meeting on February 5, 2019 for his personal use as an exhibit in his petition to the Commissioner of Education to remove the Board of Education president from that office and as a member of the Board of Education, without Board of Education authorization and in violation of the provisions of article VIII(1) of the New York State constitution..

Charge XVIII

Once suspended from his position on March 7, 2019, following the receipt of charges against him, as voted by the Board of Education, the superintendent presented himself as actively employed as Superintendent of Schools by:

  1. Entering the locker room of the Varsity Boys Ice Hockey Team at a playoff game in Buffalo, New York on or about March 8-10, 2019; and/or
  2. Having a sit-down lunch with the Varsity Boys Ice Hockey Team in Buffalo on or about March 8-10 and/or
  3. Joining the girls Varsity Lacrosse Team for a photograph with the team on or about May 8, 2019 at the Suffern Middle School‘s field; and/or 
  4. Joining the Boys Varsity Lacrosse team for a photograph with the team on or about May 9, 2019 at the Suffern Middle School field; and/or 
  5. Excepting an invitation to appear and speaking  at a  Village of Sloatsburg ceremony to honor Suffern graduating seniors event held on or about May 14, 2019 where he was listed on the program as Superintendent of Schools; and/or 
  6. Attending the Suffern High School top 10% graduating seniors event held on May 7, 2019 at the Suffern Middle School.

Charge XIX

During the month of January and February 2019, the Superintendent of Schools engaged attorney Stephan Fromson to perform personnel related legal services without the legal authorization to do so and at an expense to the district of approximately $3000 as reflected in said attorney’s billing submissions to the district.

Charge XX

Once suspended from his position on March 7, 2019, following the receipt of charges against him, as voted by the Board of Education and when requested to turn in school owned equipment, including his laptop computers, the Superintendent of schools failed to return on a timely basis his second laptop computer and attempted to wipe data from the computer’s hard drive that included transcripts of Board of Education discussions of executive sessions conducted on October 17, 2017, November 7, 2017 and September 4, 2018, at times when he was not present in the meeting room.  The transcripts of those tape recordings included discussions about his job performance, benefits and compensation.

The charge is set forth above were voted upon by the Board members present at the special meetings held on March 7, 2019 and June 12, 2019, and a majority vote of the Board of Education found probable cause to convene proceedings against you pursuant to the terms of your superintendence contract and all charges set forth above.

The Board of Education, by authorizing this letter directs that you return all school district property that may be remaining in your possession including but not limited to your ID badge, key fob, cell phone, Tablet computers, laptops computers and all other electronic devices.

During your suspension you are directed not to be present on school property, including but not limited to, School District buildings, grounds, fields and events, wherever they may take place, except to the extent that members of the public are permitted to be present and then, only, in public areas.

Sincerely,

(Redacted)


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