Robert Kando, the $143,131 executive director of the Rhode Island Board of Elections, must enroll in management classes and will face a 15-day unpaid suspension from his post. The seven-member board met behind closed doors for 45 minutes Monday to determine Kando’s fate, concluding — at least for now — a months-long saga concerning Kando’s job performance. Kando, who has been executive director since 2005, was due to be terminated on Tuesday, unless the board took alternate action. The board voted 5 to 0 with one abstention Monday to nullify the pending termination, issue the temporary suspension beginning Feb. 1 and require Kando to enroll in three semesters of management classes at an educational facility of his choice. At the conclusion of three semesters, the board will review Kando’s performance and his relationship with the board. Kando will not be allowed to take vacation time during his suspension.
Board member Rhoda Perry was absent from the meeting. Board member Stephen Erickson, who has been vocal about his criticisms of Kando’s performance, abstained from the vote. Asked why, he said he didn’t want to create any “anxiety” for the board.
“If there’s a consensus, I’m not going to stand in the way of that consensus. I think it’s important that this be viewed as a matter of policy and not personnel,” Erickson said. Kando declined to comment on the board’s action.