Investigation: Austintown board member bullied superintendent - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

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Investigation: Austintown board member bullied superintendent

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Harold Porter Harold Porter
Vince Colaluca Vince Colaluca

AUSTINTOWN TOWNSHIP, Ohio - An independent investigator concludes that Austintown Superintendent Vince Colaluca's allegations of harassment and bullying by school board member Harold Porter are valid.

That is one of the findings contained in a 17 page investigation prepared by HR on Call, a Painesville, Ohio based company that provides human resources information to companies and institutions.

The school board launched the probe this past fall after Colaluca filed a formal complaint alleging inappropriate conduct by Porter, and Porter made allegations of inappropriate conduct by Colaluca.

After interviewing a dozen people, including board members, school staff and others, the investigation found that Porter had engaged in verbal and physical bullying of Colaluca.

The report cited several instances including one were Porter, when speaking to another board member about Colaluca, said "If he says anything to me, I think I'm going to smack him."

The report also found that Porter's actions violated Board policies by publicly criticizing Colaluca and calling for his resignation.

The report also pointed out that some of those interviewed for the investigation said that Porter was unhappy that becoming board member restricted the ability of two businesses he owns to continue doing business with the district.

Colaluca sent a letter to the board in 2012 saying that Porter appeared to be having a hard time understanding " the legal and ethical necessity that he not use his role to advance personal interests as a businessman, husband of a District employee or parent."

Porter's wife is a teacher in the district, and his children attend Austintown schools.

The report says that fellow board members warned Porter about trying to influence the board's decision on reaching a contract with the teacher's union.

The investigation found evidence that Porter communicated directly with school administrators requesting specific teachers for his children.

The report addressed Porter's allegations that Colaluca improperly discussed the proceedings of an executive school board session with a township trustee. The investigation concluded that the board did not find that Colaluca's actions were improper.

The report suggested that Porter, and others should follow state recommendations to develop good working relations with fellow board members.

The school board reviewed the report behind closed doors on Monday, but said there would be no further action taken.

21 News filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the report after the school board declined our request for a copy. 

The cost of the investigation was $16,175.

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