Mayor Coogan Recuses Himself In Malone Matter

At an executive session Monday night, The Fall River School Committee made public that an investigation into the conduct of Superintendent Doctor Matthew Malone has been ongoing for several months. 


The session concluded with an amended contract for Dr. Malone, approved by a 4-2 margin with School Committee Members Paul Aguiar and Paul Hart as the two ‘no votes.’ 


The nature of the complaints against the Fall River Public School District Superintendent have not been disclosed. 


Hart and Aguiar both expressed their disappointment with the process, as well as Superintendent Malone. In his comments, Aguiar said a hearing should have been conducted into the matter or matters. 


Fall River Mayor and Chair of the School Committee Paul Coogan had to recuse himself from the session and did not cast a vote.


The State Ethics Commission sent a letter to the Fall River Mayor last Friday on January 8th telling him, “Your brother is the Human Resources Director for the Fall River Public Schools, and he reports directly to the Superintendent.”


The Fall River Mayor contacted the Commission on November 23rd for guidance. 


They told him later on in the letter, “Under (section) 19, while you serve as Mayor and as a School Committee member, you may not participate as a municipal employee in a particular matter if you or an immediate family member has a financial interest in the matter. Because you are an elected official, your only option in such an instance is to recuse yourself.” 


The Commission told Mayor Coogan that a long-standing precedent indicates a municipal employee has a financial interest in who his direct supervisor will be. They advised that financial interests of the Mayor’s brother could be affected by any decision by the School Committee regarding whether Superintendent Malone would continue to be his direct supervisor.