GREENWICH – Eight months after Attorney General William Tong announced an investigation of alleged discriminatory hiring practices in the Greenwich Public Schools, it remains unclear when that inquiry will wrap up – a necessary step before the release of any findings of parallel investigations launched by the Board of Education and the town.
A hidden-camera video edited and released by Project Veritas – a self-described journalism nonprofit – in Aug. 2022 showed Cos Cob School Assistant Principal Jeremy Boland claiming to have participated in a variety of partisan and discriminatory hiring practices with Greenwich Public Schools.
First Selectman Fred Camillo told CT Examiner that he has had little personal contact with Tong or his office.
“The Attorney General did reach out to me before he announced that he was doing the investigation, which I appreciated and support,” Camillo said in a phone call with CT Examiner. “That was the extent of it.”
Asked for an update on the investigation, Rick Funaro – deputy director of communications for the Office of the Attorney General – said the inquiry was still “active” and “ongoing.”
“As the Attorney General said when he first announced this investigation, our work will be thorough and comprehensive,” Funaro said. “At this time, we cannot comment further.”
But Camillo said the town’s independent investigation into the public school system is almost complete, and the school board’s own investigation has been finished for months.
“Ours is taking a lot longer,” Camillo said. “I think it’s probably a lot more comprehensive than [the school board’s].”
Camillo said the reaction from the community to the video prompted the town to launch its own investigation, which has been led by Stanley Twardy, a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
In the released footage, Boland claimed to have discriminated against prospective Catholic and conservative employees. Following the release, Greenwich residents demanded that the Board of Education take action and “listen to the needs of these parents.”
“A lot of people were really upset, and rightly so, about what happened,” Camillo said. “They raised a lot of questions.”
Board of Education Chair Joe Kelly said the board would release its own findings, and possibly take action, after the findings of the Tong investigation are released.
“If something’s broken, [we’re] going to fix it and we will certainly take action going forward,” Kelly said. “If it tells us nothing is broken and things are all good, then we’ll take no action.”
Kelly said the board’s investigation was undertaken by board staff, and focused on possible breaches of school policy. He said that while he was still “anxious” for the release of the attorney general’s report, Boland’s resignation had taken some pressure off of the schools.
“The pressure was taken off – at least as far as I’m concerned – once we settled the matter,” Kelly said.
Immediately following the release of the video, Boland was placed on paid administrative leave. Superintendent Toni Jones said that she had accepted Boland’s letter of resignation, effective June 30.
“She made that decision… and I support her on that decision,” Kelly said. “So, I’m good with that, and now we move forward.”
Kelly said that a committee made up of teachers, parents and senior administrators will be interviewing candidates to permanently fill the position. He said the school board is not involved in the interview process.
“As much as we’re curious to hear how it’s going, sometimes it’s best to stay out of that in case we get called on to make a decision at a higher level – you don’t want to have any influence on what’s going on in the process,” Kelly said.