Jill Cutler Hodgman, Hartford school system’s chief labor and legal officer, has resigned after agreeing to a separation arrangement, according to The Hartford Courant.
This agreement will keep Hodgman on the school system’s payroll until the end of the school year in June, while being considered on “paid leave” until then.
According to The Hartford Courant, the Hartford school system has “been subject to criticism in the aftermath of a state watchdog report that outlined widespread failures in how Hartford schools have handled allegations of suspected child abuse or neglect — particularly when the potential abusers are school employees.” This statement was made in reference to the Eduardo Genao case, which took place in 2016.
“[Genao] resigned in April 2016 after he was accused of sending sexual text messages to a 13-year-old girl from New York whom he had met at a district event,” according to The Hartford Courant. Genao pleaded not guilty to risk of injury of a minor.
Hodgman is one of Hartford’s highest payed employees, earning an annual salary of $183,846, according to The Hartford Courant. From now until June, Hodgman would have made nearly $50,000 based on her annual salary. Although she is not directly working under this agreement, Hodgman is essentially being paid this large amount to resign in June without complication.
Hodgman is said to be serving as a consultant to the superintendent of Hartford schools, but there are no specific tasks provided in the job description.
Hodgman said in a statement on March 15 that she “had the tremendous honor to work with talented and dedicated professionals in the service of the children and families of Hartford.”
“Though I have accepted a new position and will be stepping away from my role in Hartford, I will continue to assist the district through the transition and beyond,” said Hodgman. “I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given, and I have great hope for the future of Hartford.”
The question then arises — why did the Hartford school system make this deal with Hodgman in the first place?
The mistakes Hodgman made as chief labor and legal officer during the Genao case were enough for the Hartford school system to have her resign and make an agreement with her as far as salary concerns and benefits.
If the actions Hodgman made while working for the Hartford school system were not enough to fire her, why did the school system find it so important to make a deal with her to resign?
If Hodgman is fired “without cause” by the superintendent, she is entitled to her full pay and benefits, including the district’s health insurance coverage, until Aug. 31.
For Hodgman, leaving the Hartford school system will be difficult, and she will do so with a “heavy heart.”