WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB)- An assistant school superintendent in Williamsville has been fired. The Board of Education voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of a state hearing officer.
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Kim Kirsch was suspended and put on leave three years ago.
The Board of Education is legally obligated to follow the hearing officer’s recommendation.
Board Member Suzanna Van Sice spoke up before the vote and said she would’ve preferred to have more time to review the situation.
“My intentions tonight were to table this vote due to the unfortunate timing of the hearing officer’s ruling, which just came out late yesterday,” said Van Sice.
Fellow Board Member Teresa Leatherbarrow also spoke up to say she was uncomfortable with the decision because she wasn’t on the board when the charges were filed
“This vote is not in any way to show that I agree with it but it is to accept it as we often have to do,” said Leatherbarrow.
Superintendent Dr. Scott Martzloff said those comments were “hard for me to hear”.
A state hearing officer on Monday found Dr. Kirsch guilty of 103 out of 113 disciplinary charges for incompetence, misconduct, neglect of duty, insubordination and conduct unbecoming of an assistant superintendent.
The charges include claims Dr. Kirsch passed confidential district information to the Williamsville Teachers’ Association, failed to complete a number of district reports she was asked to do, failed to investigate a complaint of a teacher wrongdoing, and undermined Dr. Martzloff’s authority.
Dr. Kirsch had been the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for seven years but was suspended and put on administrative leave in 2014 after the school board decided to bring those charges against her.
Her lawyers argued the charges were retaliation after she brought concerns about Dr. Martzloff’s behavior to the school board.
The state hearing officer said in his report he found no evidence of retaliation in his decision.
“The truth has come out,” said Dr. Martzloff. “Now that independent neutral hearing officer has reviewed every piece of evidence, listened to every witness that was brought forward on both sides of the equation, and made his ruling the way that he did, I think that it speaks to the fact we should be ready to move forward together and work in a collaborative positive fashion.”
It has been a long process with 49 days of hearings and nearly 30 witnesses giving statements. Board President Toni Vazquez told News 4 the district also had to start the process over when the first hearing officer became ill and could no longer perform his duties.
She said, “I’m glad to see us moving into a new chapter.”
Dr. Kirsch’s lawyer Michael Starvaggi calls the decision an absolute travesty that is “totally contrary with the law.” They are looking at their options.
The district is now looking for a replacement. Dr. Martzloff said the Acting Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Larry Millitello is retiring in July but will stay on part time to help the transition.