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NEWBURGH– By a six to three vote, the Newburgh School Board last Friday approved the separation agreement with former superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla.
The termination stemmed from allegations of sexual harassment by Padilla made by two female employees. He has denied those allegations, but in one of the investigative reports, secured by local news outlet Mid-Hudson News, the conclusion was that he did, in fact, violate federal sexual harassment statutes.
The one-year and 11-month agreement will see him taking a “paid leave of absence” and collect his full salary and benefits. Should he accept another post of similar pay, his Newburgh payout would end.
Board member Darron Stridiron was the most vocal opponent of the deal. He noted that the board could rehire Padilla at the conclusion of this deal and be brought back as the “white knight” to save the district. At Friday’s session, he stated publicly that fellow board members bullied and threatened him repeatedly during closed-door executive sessions but said they “didn’t have the balls” to do it in public.
The school board also voted to name Acting Superintendent Ed Forgit as the new acting superintendent with his new pay rate to be determined.
Now that the Newburgh Board of Education voted to grant Roberto Padilla a two-year paid leave of absence, it has been reported that Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said he would impanel a special grand jury to investigate the situation.