Board to search for school chief as executive committee

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Tuttle-Building

NAUGATUCK — The search is on for a new superintendent of schools.

The Board of Education Nov. 14 appointed itself as an executive search committee to oversee the superintendent search following the recommendation of interim Superintendent of Schools James Connelly.

Former Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson, who was originally set to retire in June 2014, retired unexpectedly in September. Connelly was hired as the interim superintendent in September.

Connelly explained that creating an executive search committee means the committee can conduct meetings to search for the new superintendent without having to abide by the rules set out by the Freedom of Information Act.

“The legal implication for this is it allows the board to conduct that search in a confidential way. You don’t have to post meetings, you don’t have to post interviews. The whole search process is done without complying with FOI statutes,” Connelly said.

Connelly said the work of such a search committee is not considered to be a public meeting under FOI. This means that the board would not have to post the minutes from the meetings.

Connelly said conducting the search this way will help to attract more candidates. He said some candidates may not apply because they might not want their current employers to know they are seeking another job.

“Candidates in this environment really want to be part of a process that is done in a confidential way,” Connelly said.

Connelly pointed to past experiences over his career when people would show up at interviews to see who was there.

“I can remember years ago when boards didn’t do that and they had to post superintendent interviews. They didn’t say who they were interviewing and you had both the media and other people outside watching who was going in,” Connelly said.

Board member Diana Malone asked if the committee could include people other than just the board members since she has heard people express interest in being on the committee.

“The search committee can bring in whoever they want to bring in to advise them,” Connelly said. “All this does is allow you to work without complying with the FOI meeting requirements.”

The board voted unanimously to make itself an executive search committee.

“I think it allows you a lot more flexibility both as a community as well as the candidates’ confidence that the process is a confidential one until the very end when you have identified finalists,” Connelly said.