At Monday evening’s Fall River School Committee Meeting, School Superintendent Dr. Matthew Malone received mixed reviews.
Part of the meeting’s agenda was to discuss Malone’s 2019-2020 evaluation report put together by the committee.
School Committee member Mimi Larrivee began the discussion by summarizing the findings of the report which involved input by committee members.
Concerning Malone’s goals, most were rated as “some progress” or “significant progress” and his leadership was recognized as proficient. Where Malone was deemed as “needs improvement” were in the areas of culture, decision making, management/operations, human resources, and ethics.
Overall Malone was applauded for the development of the hybrid model and the district’s preparation during the pandemic.
Larrivee went on to say that “the School Committee takes inappropriate staff conduct very seriously and that Malone must be a better leader, better communicator, and more mindful of his language, conduct, and demeanor.”
Member Kevin Aguiar reiterated his stance concerning his disapproval of Malone’s performance by giving him an overall unsatisfactory rating. “Malone does not accept oversight and constructive questioning in a manner that should be expected in a leader.” Aguiar also stated that Malone has poor impulse control when dealing with the community and the staff members do not speak up due to fear of retaliation. Aguiar also took issue with Malone stating that he never took a sick day during the year. Also brought up in Aguiar’s comments was $200,000 lost to the district concerning the Southcoast Collaborative in addition to pending litigation.
Paul Hart also gave Malone an overall unsatisfactory rating and stated that the Superintendent needs to improve at properly managing conflict.
Thomas Khoury stated during the discussion of Malone’s evaluation that the School Committee addressed the Superintendent’s conduct responsibly. Khoury was complimentary of the job Malone has done overall, especially during the pandemic, and stated that “what we have in place is working very well.”
Mark Costa agreed with Khoury and felt that the district did well during the pandemic and that Malone’s conduct shouldn’t necessarily “cast a dark shadow” over the work that was done during the year.
Mayor Paul Coogan addressed his displeasure in Malone’s conduct. “We can hopefully move on from this, but I can only express my disappointment. I do wish I was allowed to participate, but I don’t think it would have changed the outcome.” Coogan recused himself from the investigation involving Malone’s conduct due to a conflict of interest concerning his brother Thomas Coogan being Executive Director of Human Resources.
Malone addressed the committee and while he appreciated the feedback given and stated that he took ownership of his actions, he took issue with several comments made by Aguiar including problems with boundaries and harassment that Malone says weren’t proven to be true. “Kevin Aguiar is not the committee. He is one member of the committee.” Malone went on to express his thoughts on his job performance in the last year. “I led this committee through the toughest times it’s ever had and did so successfully. I don’t know if you could have found a superintendent that could have done it any better.”