I have received a letter from Superintendent Neil Cavallaro dated June 14 in which he orders me to “cease and desist from any further direct or indirect communications with board [of education] members,” because they “will eventually sit in a ‘quasi-judicial’ capacity,” and because such communication could “taint the process,” etc. He then goes on to state that my “failure to follow this directive will be considered insubordination and will constitute further grounds for [my] dismissal.” I believe that Mr. Cavallaro’s threatening demand in this letter is logically absurd and is essentially an illegal gag order which violates my civil rights.
I would like to remind Mr. Cavallaro that CT 10-151, the statute governing my case before the Board, provides for my right to participate in the selection an “impartial hearing officer chosen by the teacher and the superintendent.” I have been denied that right.
Furthermore, at a meeting two months ago between the superintendent, Board Attorney Floyd Dugas, myself, my former attorney Leon Rosenblatt, and others, an arbitrator named Laurie Cain was both present and party to discussions between my attorney and Board Attorney Dugas. At this meeting, Attorney Rosenblatt stated our objections to any arbitration process and told Attorney Dugas that he was retiring from legal practice and that another attorney would now be handling my case before the Board. Attorney Dugas asserted that the West Haven Board of Education “lacked the expertise” to conduct a board hearing and that, therefore, an arbitration was necessary.
As a party to those discussions, Ms. Cain cannot now be an “impartial hearing officer,” and must recuse herself from any further involvement with my case before the Board, lest such involvement “taint the process,” in Mr. Cavallaro’s words.
Superintendent Cavallaro must now contact me to arrange for the choice of a mutually agreed upon impartial hearing officer in my coming public board hearing. Additionally, dates must be selected to allow for my current attorney, Mr. Peter Goselin of Hartford, to be my representative in this process.
This cavalier neglect and abuse of my rights under the law has become customary practice by Mr. Cavallaro and his agents. On January 10 the superintendent announced his intention to fire me without benefit of a hearing. Under his June 14 edict, Mr. Cavallaro attempts to violate my rights without allowing me to appeal to the duly elected body to which we are both subordinate, namely the West Haven Board of Education. Moreover, it is apparent that the superintendent is attempting to conceal his transgressive behavior from the Board. I would like to remind all concerned parties that these illegal behaviors by Mr. Cavallaro will not go unnoticed in the furtherance of my pending lawsuit before the New Haven Superior Court.
It may be time for the Board to assert its statutory prerogatives and to remove this process from Mr. Cavallaro’s hands entirely, thus saving the taxpayers a lot of money.