Nybladh Using Vacation Time to Serve Rest of Term

Nybladh Using Vacation Time to Serve Rest of Term Click to Enlarge

A Grand Forks School Board member has confirmed a change in the status of the current school superintendent.

Board member Meggen Sande tells KNOX that Dr. Larry Nybladh will be using a combination of vacation and sick leave to fill out the remainder of his contract, which runs through June 30th. Assistant Superintendent Jody Thompson will handle the day-to-day superintendent duties, while Nybladh will continue to serve in matters of negotiations and other public affairs.

Sande says the change stems from an agreement, suggested by Nybladh himself, to settle what Sande describes as a potential hostile work environment after an altercation between Nybladh and another school district employee.

A verbal altercation between Nybladh and the unnamed employee was reported to Sande in recent days. Sande says the altercation "rose to a level of a hostile environment or bullying."

Upon report of the altercation, Sande consulted with a second board member, and then with the district's legal counsel. Legal counsel urged that board president Doug Carpenter be involved in the proceedings.

During a meeting that involved Sande and Carpenter, Sande states that Nybladh made the suggestion that the issue be resolved by the use of his remaining vacation time and pre-planned sick leave, allowing the day-to-day operations to function without the presence of Nybladh in the Mark Sanford Education Center. The Grand Forks Herald reported yesterday that Nybladh had over 50 vacation days remaining.

The agreement eases the district's financial obligations to Nybladh when his pending retirement is reached. The school district is required to buy out his remaining vacation time after his contract is completed.

Nybladh and Carpenter denied the situation in the Herald's report yesterday. Nybladh told the Herald he did not know the origin, nor understand the "rumors" regarding the incident and subsequent action.

Sande tells KNOX her report was verified by another individual on the school board, and that she is "angry and disappointed" over the denials that were made yesterday. Multiple attempts by KNOX to reach Carpenter yesterday were unsuccessful.

Sande says the employee involved was satisfied with the arrangement reached, and, had the employee not been satisfied, it would have been brought to the full board for a review. Under the arrangement, the district will save roughly $50,000 in vacation buyout costs for Nybladh.

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