LAKE PLACID — Lake Placid Central School Superintendent Dr. Randy C. Richards will step down at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
“The Board of Education indicated that they will not be renewing my contract,” he said in a statement released over the weekend.
Richards has been the target of much acrimony and outrage since it became public knowledge that, in February 2011 during a personnel discusion, he told Lake Placid Middle School Principal Katherine Mulderig he needed someone “bitchier” to manage the “bitchy” teachers at the elementary school.
He acknowledged he
made the statement and apologized.
But Mulderig brought a complaint of gender discrimination against him to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
In February of this year, that entity found merit in the complaint.
The preliminary findings were a first step that could lead to further litigation, according to Mulderig’s attorney Phillip Steck.
“It’s an administrative determination that there is probable cause to believe that Richards discriminated against Katherine Mulderig because of her gender; that he retaliated against her for making a complaint of sex discrimination; and that he created a hostile work environment for Katherine Mulderig based on her gender,” Steck told the Press-Republican.
‘LACK OF CONFIDENCE’
On April 16, Mulderig took a personal, paid leave of absence. At a meeting the next evening, the School Board agreed to a “settlement from employment and resolution of the disputed claims” with an unnamed employee.
As had happened numerous times, some at that session called for Richards’s resignation. Earlier, a petition with some 600 signatures called for the board to let Richards go.
Most recently, resident Linda Wallace filed an appeal to New York’s education commissioner asking that the superintendent be removed.
The complaint claims he provided misleading and inaccurate information at board meetings and in public statements about contingency plans should the school budget be voted down.
It says Richards exhibited “the derogation of responsibility, neglect of duty and deliberate indifference by misrepresentation to voters of potential budget shortfalls (that) indirectly attempt to persuade voters … inferring harm to children and programs” should the spending plan be defeated.
The 2012-13 school budget did, in fact, pass in May, but an exit poll taken by the district showed the top reason that 137 voters did not support it was they “do not have confidence in the School Board/administration.”
A total 446 voters, a little more than half who cast their ballot, filled out the poll.
Richards, who has not directly commented on the issues swirling about him, could not immediately be reached Sunday; nor could School Board President Phil Baumbach.
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