There’s a trifecta of drama unfolding at the very top of New Haven Public Schools.
Mayor Toni Harp, who happens to also sit on the school board, hired a private investigator to probe whether board president, Darnell Goldson, acted inappropriately toward Superintendent Carol Birks. It’s an investigation Goldson’s lawyer, John Williams, called illegal.
“The mayor, whom I very much admire, doesn’t have the authority to be conducting this investigation. Period,” Mr. Williams said.
It’s unclear exactly what Goldson stands accused of. Yet, Dr. Birks has said she prefers not to meet with Goldson alone.
Meanwhile, Mr. Williams confirmed the private investigator, a former cop-turned-lawyer, has already questioned Goldson. “My sense is that the investigator is as mystified as all the rest of us,” said Mr. Williams.
In a phone with News 8’s Mario Boone, the superintendent said she was disappointed the situation is playing out publicly. In a written statement Dr. Birks went on to say, “I remain committed to working collaboratively with Mr. Goldson and the rest of the board to do the work that’s needed for the students of New Haven. The decision for this investigation was made by the mayor and all questions about it should be referred to her.”
We did reach out to the mayor for comment. Her office issued the following statement which reads, “The mayor is obligated to investigate, as a matter of personnel policy, after a city worker comes forward with concerns about workplace safety and distress about his or her working relationship with anyone in a supervisorial position.”
As for how much the investigation will cost, the mayor’s office said the final bill is yet to be determined because the investigation is ongoing. But the mayor’s spokesman does confirm taxpayers in the cash-strapped Elm City will foot the bill.
Mr. Williams summed up the entire ordeal by saying, “from the standpoint of Mr. Goldson, and I as her lawyer, the whole thing is kind of crazy.”