Sag Harbor School Board Discusses Alleged Confidentiality Breach

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Sag Harbor School Board Trustees Sandi Kruel and Theresa Samot at the board’s budget meeting in the Pierson High School library on Monday, April 3, 2017. Michael Heller photo

A motion to spend up to $10,000 to hire an investigator to look into what some Sag Harbor School Board members described as a breach of executive session confidentiality was voted down, 4-3, during a May 31 special meeting.

“There is grave concern by some board members that the confidentiality required by a board member has been violated on multiple occasions,” said board member Chris Tice, who initially proposed spending up to $25,000, but later amended the sum.

It is unclear exactly what specific issue prompted the request for an investigation.

Board member Stephanie Bitis, who voted against the measure, said she felt $10,000 “seems like a tremendous investment for what we can resolve in a retreat.”

Board members voting in favor of the investigation along with Ms. Tice were Sandi Kruel and Theresa Samot. “I think it’s much bigger than a retreat,” Ms. Samot said. “A board member can be removed from board service because of this. I think it’s very serious.”

Ms. Kruel said the retreat approach “has never ended well because no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are lawsuits coming down about this. Think about how much a lawsuit is going to cost,” she said.

Board president Diana Kolhoff and vice president Tommy John Schiavoni both said $10,000 felt like a lot of money, and both said an investigation may not necessarily be the best use of the board’s time and resources.

Board member Susan Lamontagne said she voted no because she wanted more information. “I don’t disagree with the seriousness,” she said. “I just want a little more information from the attorney. I agree that there has been stuff out there, in print, that’s in violation.”

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