Milford superintendent put on leave
MILFORD — Superintendent of Schools Harvey B. Polansky was put on paid administrative leave by the Board of Education Sunday, pending an investigation into two principals’ allegations he sexually harassed them, including, according to a source, kissing one of them on the mouth.
The school board met behind closed doors for nearly two hours in the afternoon at the Parsons Government Center, and the eight members present unanimously decided to placet Polansky on leave and directed board attorney Floyd Dugas to hire an independent agency to investigate the complaints.
Board members declined to comment on the nature of the investigation, but several sources confirmed two female principals have filed separate sexual harassment claims against Polansky, who is in his third year as superintendent, and has been lavished with praise for his performance.
Sources said police are not investigating the alleged harassment.
Sources said one principal’s account is very detailed.
According to the sources, the complaint states that Polansky walked very close to her when she was on a tour of the school, and he put his hand on her lower back and was guiding her. Polansky’s hand went toward her buttocks, the principal wrote, according to sources with knowledge of the complaint.
The same principal had three private debriefings with Polansky in her office, and on more than one occasion he went to give her a hug and leaned forward to give her a kiss, according to the complaint, sources said. On at least one occasion, the principal turned her cheek, and Polansky gave her a kiss on the mouth, sources said. The principal was so traumatized by the behavior she phoned a friend in tears, and questioned what recourse she had, according to the complaint sources said.
On one occasion, Polansky went to the principal’s office and proceeded to close the curtains in her office, but opened them quickly, and nothing happened, the principal said in the complaint, according to sources. Specific information on the second principal’s complaint was not available.
Dugas declined to comment on the investigation or the allegations, saying it’s a personnel matter. Dugas said he was unsure how long it would take him to hire an independent agency to investigate the allegations. He said it’s possible another lawyer may handle the inquiry.
“Anytime you do an investigation of this nature, you want to move as promptly as we can,” Dugas said.
The board officially named Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Teaching and Learning Michael Cummings as acting superintendent of schools.
Dugas said the board had no choice but to place Polansky on leave. Polansky was not at the meeting and couldn’t be reached for comment.
“As a labor lawyer, it’s essentially automatic when you have a complaint of this nature to put someone on administrative leave,” Dugas said.
In December the board unanimously approved a three-year contract extension for Polansky, which runs through the 2011-12 school year. Polansky receives an annual salary of $195,274, and he declined a wage increase this year because of the economic recession.
Polansky was hired in March 2007, months after the school board had bought out the contract of former Superintendent of Schools Gregory A. Firn. Firn left the district in December 2006 after accepting a $109,000 buyout of his contract. He butted heads with the Board of Education for his support of former youth league basketball coach Robert Dulin, who served 18 months in prison for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of his then teenage players.