SHIPMAN & GOODWIN LLp'" COUNSELORS
Mrs. Mary Cortright
Tom Mooney, Glen Lamontagne and David Roy
Submission of Documents to the State Department of Education concerning Amy Gilchrist's Application for a Coaching Permit
February 13, 2009
INTRODUCTION: The Meriden Public Schools have learned that the State Department of Education is reviewing the submission of apparently-falsified documents to the State Department of Education on behalf of Amy Gilchrist, a physical education teacher employed by the school district. At your request, Mr. Glen Lamontagne, Mr. David Roy and I have conducted an investigation into this matter. As set forth below, we conclude that Ms. Gilchrist did not submit the documents in question, and we also conclude that Ms. Gilchrist neither requested nor was aware that such falsified documents were submitted on her behal f. I.
FINDINGS OF FACT:
1. Amy Gilchrist is a physical education teacher at Maloney High School. and prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, she applied for the additional position of girls field hockey head coach. Ms. Gilchrist had not previously served as an athletic coach. 2. Bruce Golden, the Athletic Director at Maloney High School, interviewed Ms. Gilchrist shortly before the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. During the interview for the position of girls tield hockey head coach, Mr. Golden asked Ms. Gilchrist to till out an application for a Five- Year Renewable Coaching Permit (Form ED-18S" and he asked whether she had Red Cross certification. Ms. Gilchrist stated that she did, but that she did not have her cards with her. She asked Mr. Golden if she could scan the cards and email them to him. At the time, there was discussion of whether Mr. Golden knew how to download attachments, and Ms. Gilchrist told him that she would ask another Maloney High School teacher/athletic coach, Bethany Dare, to assist him if necessary. Ms. Dare has separately verified that Ms. Gilchrist did call her at that time and made that request of her.
3. As verified through a check of the Meriden Public Schools email system.Ms. Gilchrist scanned the cards and on August 15, 2008 sent to Mr. Golden the image of three American Red Cross wallet cards, the front of the three wallet cards on one page and the back of the three wallet cards on a second page. The front of each of the cards shown on the scan carried the date August 29. 2007. At a personal interview on January 23. 2009, Ms. Gilchrist produced the three cards in question. and the date of August 29. 2007 was set forth on the front of the original cards as was depicted on the scan. The cards were clean, and there was no sign that me dates on these cards had been changed. 4. Ms. Gilchrist did not submit copies of these cards to the State Department of Education. Rather, Ms. Gilchrist understood that Mr. Golden would submit the application and the scans of the cards on her behalf. The Meriden Public Schools presume that such occurred. because Ms. Gilchrist later received a letter from the State Department of Education stating that she needed to submit a new application with an original signature. 5. Ms. Gilchrist filled out the Form ED-185 again. and submitted this second form to Ylr. Golden. At the request of Mr. Golden. anOlher Maloney High School teacher/athletic coach, Jennifer Cancelliere hand-delivered the newly-completed Form ED-185 for Ms. Gilchrist, as well as ED-185 Forms for four other newly-hired Ylaloney High School teachers/athletic coaches (Jennifer CancelJiere, Bethany Dare, Kelly Thurs(On, and Cari Capodiece) (0 the State Department of Education on September 25, 2008. 6. At some time later in the fall, after Ms. Gilchrist had tiUed out the second Form ED-185 (as described above), Mr. Golden came up (0 her in school and infonned her that she needed to sign the backs of her Red Cross cards. At that time, Mr. Golden presented Yls. Gilchrist with the same scan (or another copy of the scan) that she had sent Ylr. Golden in August. but she was only presented with the page that included the image of the back of her three American Red Cross wallet cards. At Mr. Golden's request. she signed the three images of the backs of her cards. Ms. Gilchrist did not submit any paperwork to the State Department of Education at that time. 7. The first notice that Ms. Gilchrist received that there was a concern about her coaching application was a letter dated November 10. 2008 from Kathleen DeFelice. Education Consultant. which Ms. Gilchrist received on November 23. 2008. Ms. Gilchrist promptly responded to this letter by personal letter dated November 24, 2008. The statements Ms. Gilchrist makes in this letter are consistent with the information gathered by the Meriden Public Schools in its investigation of this matter. 8. As part of this investigation. Mr. Golden was questioned at length about these events. During this questioning, Mr. Golden responded that he did not recall whether he had submitted any forms on behalf of Ms. Gilchrist, and Mr. Golden stated that he
Jid not recall asking Ms. Gilchrist to sign the back of the Red Cross cards. Mr. Golden stated that he had undergone chemotherapy treatment earlier in the year and that this treatment may have affected his memory. Mr. Golden did state that he recalled asking Ms. Cancelliere to deliver completed ED-18S Forms (with original signatures) to the State Department of Education in September. Mr. Golden stated that these forms were submitted on behalf of Jennifer Cancelliere, Bethany Dare, Kelly Thurston, and Cari Capodiece. but he stated that he could not recall whether a newly-completed Form ED-185 for Amy Gilchrist was included. However. lennifer Cancelliere has separately confirmed that in fact she delivered five ED-18S forms to the State Department of Education on September 25.2008. including the ED-185 Form signed by Amy Gilchrist. 9. In reviewing this matter, it was necessary to assess the credibility of Ms. Gilchrist and of Mr. Golden, because their versions of the relevant events were not the same. Ms. Gilchrist was highly credihle in her responses to our questions, in that her responses were immediate, detailed, internally-consistent. and consistent with the written explanation of events that Ms. Gilchrist provided to the State Department of Education promptly after being notified that the State Department of Education was reviewing what appeared to be the submission of falsified documents. Moreover. details of Ms. Gilchrist's version of events were independently verified by Bethany Dare (who recalled Ms. Gilchrist's call asking that she assist Mr. Golden with the opening of an attachment. i.e. the scan of the Red Cross cards that Ms. Gilchrist would be sending to Mr. Golden following her interview) and by Jennifer CancelJiere (who recalled delivering the ED-185 Form signed by Ms. Gilchrist to the State Department of Education at the request of Mr. Golden). 10. By contrast, Mr. Golden's testimony was in part not credible (although we are not certain whether Mr. Golden's failure to provide credible testimony was due to intentional misrepresentation or to the aftereffects of his medical treatment). In any event, Mr. Golden's testimony did not contradict the testimony of Ms. Gilchrist. For example. Mr. Golden was not able to explain or recall what steps he [Ook to assure that Ms. Gilchrist had appropriate and current Red Cross training, or even whether he discussed this matter with Ms. Gilchrist. However, as an experienced Athletic Director at Maloney High School, Mr. Golden should certainly have assured that a coach being hired shortly before the start of the season have the appropriate Red Cross training. so that the coach would be able to assume the coaching responsibilities promptly. Similarly, while Mr. Golden stated that he had no recollection of what occurred when Ms. Gilchrist was hired as a coach, he testified that he did on occasion provide the Form ED-i85 to candidates and submit documents to the State Department of Education on behalf of coaches. Moreover. Mr. Golden did not provide any alternative explanation as to how he ex.pected Ms. Gilchrist to comply with the requirement that a completed Form ED-185 along with proof of appropriate Red Cross training be submitted to the State Department of Education.
II. During (he investigation of this matter, Mr. Roy and Mr. Lamontagne learned of a prior incident in which Mr. Golden had allegedly providc;d a coach with falsified "proof" of taking required Red Cross training so as to meet the required qualifications to serve as a coach. When confronted with this information during the investigation of this matter, Mr. Golden admitted to providing that other coach with a falsified document concerning Red Cross training. and Mr. Golden apologized for taking this inappropriate "shortcut." This prior conduct regarding falsifying documentation concerning Red Cross training supports the conclusion that Mr. Golden, not Ms. Gilchrist. submitted falsified documents to the State Department of Education in this case. Mr. Golden's conduct is under review and wilI result in serious disciplinary action. CONCLUSION: Based on the FINDINGS OF FACT above. we have concluded that Ms. Gilchrist is not responsible for the submission of falsified records to the State Department of Education. Through this investigation. we found no evidence that she submitted the records in question or that she was aware that falsified records were submitted on her behalf.
RELEASE AND SEPARATION AGREEMENT This Release of All Claims and Separation Agreement (hereinafter "Agreement") is made by and among Bruce Golden, the Meriden Federation of Teachers (the "Federation"), and the Meriden Board of Education, acting through its Superintendent, Ms. Mary Cortright (the "Superintendent"), as follows: WHEREAS, Mr. Golden is employed by the Board as a teacher; and WHEREAS, Mr. Golden, the Federation and the Board now wish to resolve on an amicable basis any and all claims and potential claims Mr. Golden may have related to his employment with the Board or separation from that employment; NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual promises and covenants contained herein, Mr. Golden and the Board, acting of their own free will, hereby agree as follows: 1.
Mr. Golden hereby resigns his employment from the Meriden Board of Education for purposes ofretirement, effective March 27,2009, and the Superintendent hereby accepts Mr. Golden's resignation, which is irrevocable. Effective with the execution of this Agreement, Mr. Golden shall be relieved of the responsibilities of his position, and he shall have no responsibility or authority to act on behalf of the Meriden Board of Education after that date. Mr. Golden agrees not to seek further employment with the Board or the City of Meriden in any capacity at any time. The Board agrees to provide supporting factual documentation concerning any application for disability retirement as Mr. Golden may reasonably request.
For the remaining period of his employment with the Board, the Board shall continue to provide to Mr. Golden the same salary and group health insurance
benefits provided during employment from the effective date of this Agreement through and including March 27, 2009. Mr. Golden shall be responsible for any and all contributions, co-payments or other payments for such group health insurance benefits at the same rate paid during employment. In addition, Mr. Golden shall be eligible for the severance benefit upon retirement, as set forth in Section 9.8 of the current collective bargaining agreement between the Meriden Federation of Teachers and the Meriden Board of Education. 3.
Upon Mr. Golden's request, the Meriden Public Schools, acting through David H. Roy, its Personnel Director, shall provide Mr. Golden a letter verifying his dates of employment with the Meriden Public Schools.
Mr. Golden expressly acknowledges that Mr. Golden is not entitled to any payments, benefits or compensation, in any form for any reason, from the Board beyond those found in this Agreement.
Mr. Golden acknowledges that Mr. Golden would not be entitled to any of the payments or benefits described in this Agreement if Mr. Golden did not enter into this Agreement. The Board acknowledges that Mr. Golden would not otherwise release the potential claims hereinafter set forth but for receipt of such payments and benefits.
For and in consideration of the valuable consideration described in this Agreement, which Mr. Golden acknowledges and accepts, Mr. Golden knowingly and voluntarily releases and forever discharges the Board, all of the Board's past, present and future members, agents, attorneys, insurers, representatives, employees and any person acting on behalf of or in concert with any of them
(collectively, "releasees"), from any and all claims, demands, obligations, liabilities, causes of action, known or unknown, asserted and unasserted, and any claim for costs, attorney's fees, expenses or any form of damages whatsoever (including but not limited to liquidated and/or punitive damages, compensatory damages and/or damages for emotional distress) which Mr. Golden has or may have against releasees arising out of or in any way connected with Mr. Golden's employment or separation from employment, including, but not limited to, any alleged violation of any of the following: Connecticut Teacher Tenure Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-151;
Connecticut Workers' Compensation Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 31-284b
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.c. §§ 2000e et seq.;
Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U .S.C. §§ 1981 et seq.;
Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.c. §§ 1983 et seq.;
Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 46a-51
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et ~.;
Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq.;
Older Workers Benefits Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 632
Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132 et seq.;
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993,29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq.;
Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 31-51 kk
Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.;
Connecticut Whistle Blowers' Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 31-51m et seq.;
Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.c. §§ 201 et seq.;
Immigration Refonn and Control Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.;
Connecticut Free Speech Law, Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 31-51q et seq.;
Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 31 367 et seq.;
Any other federal, state or local law, regulation or ordinance;
Any obligation arising under any public policy;
Any obligation arising under contract (express or implied, written or oral),
employment policies or practices, employee handbooks and/or any
statements by any employee or agent of the Board whether oral or written; Any obligation arising under tort or common law or other legal principle, including but not limited to wrongful discharge, defamation, intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress, misrepresentation and/or breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. Mr. Golden understands that this is a comprehensive waiver of any and all claims by Mr. Golden resulting from or arising out of or in any way connected with Mr. Golden's employment or separation from employment. Mr. Golden affinns that Mr. Golden has no pending claim under the Workers' Compensation Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 31-275 et seq. or the Heart and Hypertension Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 7-433c, and that Mr. Golden has no present intention of filing any such claim. This Agreement does not prevent Mr. Golden from filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities ("CHRO) concerning claims of discrimination, or participating in an EEOC or CHRO investigation, hearing or proceeding, although Mr. Golden specifically waives the right to recover any
damages or other relief in any claim or suit brought by or through the EEOC or the CHRO, except where prohibited by law. 7.
Mrs. Cortright and Mr. Golden, and their respective attorneys and agents shall not make any comment to any person, including but not limited to agents of the news and communications media, relating to the discussions or events that led up to this Agreement, except that Mrs. Cortright expressly reserves the right to confirm that Mr. Golden has resigned his employment with the Board of Education and to convey information to the State Department of Education as may be appropriate in connection with any related review of Mr. Golden's actions by the State Department of Education. In addition, it is understood that, this provision notwithstanding, the Board may be required to provide information concerning this Agreement pursuant to its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act or other applicable law and in order to carry out its obligations under this Agreement. In any event, Mrs. Cortright and her agents and Mr. Golden and his agents shall not make any disparaging, negative, false or misleading statements concerning or referring to the other at any time, oral or written (including in any electronic form), to any other person or entity.
Mr. Golden and the Board further understand and agree that this Agreement does not constitute any admission by the Board or by Mr. Golden that the Board or Mr. Golden is in any way liable to the other, or has harmed or damaged the other or violated any rights Mr. Golden or the Board may have.
The Board and Mr. Golden expressly acknowledge that they will not make any claim or demand and each of them hereby waives any rights any of them may
now have or may hereafter have or claim to have, based upon any alleged oral alteration, amendment, modification or any other alleged change in this Agreement; and that the validity, effect and operation of this Agreement shall be determined by the laws of the State of Connecticut; and that there is no \\-Titten or oral understanding or agreement between them that is not recited herein. 10.
Except as provided otherwise in this Agreement, if any of the provisions, terms or clauses of this Agreement are declared illegal, unenforceable or ineffective in a legal forum or by operation of law, those provisions, terms and clauses shall be deemed severable, such that all other provisions, terms and clauses of this Agreement shall remain valid and binding upon both parties, except that the Board's obligation to pay the benefits andJor payments contained herein is conditioned upon the validity and enforceability of the release set forth above in Section 6, in its entirety.
Mr. Golden affirmatively states that Mr. Golden has been advised to consult with an attorney in order to consider the provisions of this Agreement, and, specifically with reference to release of any and all claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.c. §§621 et. seq., that Mr. Golden was afforded up to twenty-one (21) days to consult with an attorney and to consider this Agreement, and that if Mr-. Golden signs the Agreement prior to the expiration ofsuch twenty one (21) days, Mr. Golden does so voluntarily and of Mr. Golden's own free will.
This Agreement shall not become effective or enforceable until seven (7) days following its execution by Mr. Golden. Prior to the end of this seven (7) day period, Mr. Golden may revoke assent to this Agreement. Mr. Golden agrees that
for the revocation of this agreement to be effective it must be received by Mrs. Mary Cortright, whose address is 22 Liberty Street, Meriden CT 06450 not later than the end of the seven (7) day revocation period. 13.
The Board and Mr. Golden affirmatively state that they have a full understanding of the contents of the Agreement and the effects thereof and that they have executed the same voluntarily and of their own free will, without any coercion.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the aforementioned parties, intending to be legally bound hereby, have executed this Agreement. BRUCE GOLDEN
MERIDEN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS
MERIDEN BOARD OF EDUCATION
[5) IE a:
MAR 1 6 1009
MERIDEN BOARD OF EDUCATION
1. Amy Gilchrist is a physical education teacher at Maloney High School. and prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, she applie...