Employee in charge of lead testing at Portland Public Schools resigns

PORTLAND, Ore. – Andy Fridley, the Portland Public Schools employee who oversaw lead testing and was placed on administrative leave in June, has resigned.

Fridley submitted his letter of resignation on Sept. 8, the district confirmed.

The Portland Tribune first reported Fridley’s resignation, noting the Environmental Health and Safety Manager would officially leave Sept. 22 for a position outside of the school district.  

In his resignation letter, Fridley said he was frustrated that he had to watch the lead investigation unfold and hear the accusations that were lobbed at him over the course of the year, without being able to respond. 

He said the district did not provide enough resources to lead issues and he lobbied the district and state to address the aging school buildings. 

The district released the following statement regarding Fridley's resignation: 

Today, Andy Fridley submitted his letter of resignation effective September 22. We have had an interim environmental health and safety team in place since July and continue to be focused on reviewing policies and practices to ensure the safety of our students.

Fridley was placed on leave June 2, after documents showed PPS downplayed lead issues in school water sources.

Emails revealed that Fridley pushed back when some parents requested lead testing, and mocked one parent who was concerned about lead levels in schools.

An investigation later found the district lacked clear policies for lead testing and did not see lead in water as a “significant issue” since the last system-wide test in 2001.

Superintendent Carole Smith retired early after the investigation's findings were announced. The district has an interim superintendent for the 2016-17 school year.

Chief Operating Officer Tony Magliano was also placed on administrative leave in June and remains on leave. 


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