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State of New York vs. COVID-19 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo periodically updates New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The latest reports of the number of new cases, the percentage of tests that were positive and many other relevant data points concerning COVID-19 are available at

N.B. §22 of the New York State's General Construction Law, in pertinent part, provides that “Whenever words of the masculine or feminine gender appear in any law, rule or regulation, unless the sense of the sentence indicates otherwise, they shall be deemed to refer to both male or female persons.” NYPPL applies this protocol to individuals referred to in a decision self-identifying as LGBTQA+.

January 7, 2011

Commissioner of Education does not have jurisdiction to resolve FOIL or Title IX appeals

Commissioner of Education does not have jurisdiction to resolve FOIL or Title IX appeals
Application of Gary Berman to remove a member of the Boards of Education of the Valley Stream Central High School District and the Valley Stream Union Free District No. 13., Decisions of the Commissioner No. 15,537

Gary Berman asked the Commissioner of Education to remove Dr. Frank Chiachiere from his positions as president and member of the Board of Education of the Valley Stream Central High School District and as a member of the Board of Education of the Valley Stream Union Free School District No. 13. Berman, in support of his request, alleged that that Dr. Chiachiere ignored, and has permitted district officers to ignore, the requirements of the State Freedom of Information Law (Public Officers Law §§84-90) (usually referred to as “FOIL”) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (see 20 USC §1681 et seq.).

The Commissioner said that Berman’s complaints involving alleged violations of FOIL requests in January 2006, must be dismissed because §89 of the Public Officers Law vests exclusive jurisdiction over complaints alleging FOIL violations in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Accordingly, alleged FOIL violations may not be adjudicated in an appeal to the Commissioner.

Similarly, the Commissioner said that he did not have jurisdiction to adjudicate Title IX claims.

However, the Commissioner said that there was one additional administrative matter to consider in connection with Berman’s appeal -- Dr. Chiachiere’s request that the Commissioner grant him a certificate of good faith pursuant to Education Law §3811(1).

Granting such a certificate would allow the school board to indemnify Dr. Chiachiere for legal fees and expenses he incurred in defending a proceeding arising out of the exercise of his powers or performance of his duties as a member and, or, president of the board.

The Commissioner said that “[i]t is appropriate to issue such certification unless it is established on the record that the requesting board member acted in bad faith. Finding no evidence of bad faith on the part of Dr. Chiachiere in record before him, the Commission ruled that Dr. Chiachiere was entitled to receive a certificate of good faith.

Public Personnel Law E-books

The Discipline Book - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State set out in a 700 page e-book. For more information click on

A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - A 442-page e-book focusing on determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service in instances where the employee has been found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. Now available in two formats - as a large, paperback print edition and as an e-book. For more information click on

The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - A 645 page e-book reviewing the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on

Disability Leave for fire, police and other public sector personnel - A 1098 page e-book focusing on disability benefits available to public officers and employees employed by New York State and its political subdivisions. For more information click on