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Solet's job nears end at Western

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:09 PM

COLLINS - One way or another, Doug Solet is probably on his way out as Western Reserve superintendent after an investigation concluded he violated the district's sexual harassment policy.

"If he hands us a resignation before tomorrow (today) at 5 p.m., we will consider a resignation. If we don't get it before that point, we will consider termination," school board president Cheryl Fannin said late Tuesday afternoon.

The board announced a special open meeting for 5 p.m. today to "consider the termination of an administrator." Fannin confirmed Solet is the administrator facing termination.

She said termination would be immediate and the board has already started looking for a replacement for the superintendent, who was hired August 1 on a three-year contract paying $74,500 per year.

"We have talked to some people and we may be considering an interim," she said, adding they need someone to take the helm at the school as soon as possible.

Fannin said the board anticipates no other action concerning inappropriate actions by employees at today's meeting, but members might consider actions against other employees in the future.

"We're not prepared to act on that yet," she said.

A 31-year-old substitute bus driver and part-time cafeteria worker filed the initial complaint against Solet on Dec. 13. Solet filed a complaint against the woman on Jan. 16.

Fannin said the board is taking action because of a report by Concord-based HR On Call Inc.

The report concluded Solet violated the school's anti-harassment policy by making "unwelcome invitations to her that made her feel uncomfortable." The investigators also wrote that two other district staff members cited similar "unwelcome" actions by Solet.

As for Solet's claim, HR On Call did not find any "clear evidence" the woman violated the policy, but said the allegations "appear to have grown out of a consensual relationship."

The investigators found Solet never initiated any counseling for the employee, something he is empowered to do, so the superintendent "must have found her actions to be acceptable under the (anti-harassment) policy."

HR On Call recommended the woman, who is not named in the report, be counseled about "what is appropriate behavior under the policy to help her avoid any future similar incidents in the workplace."

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