Thursday, June 16, 2011

Reassignment pending disciplinary action

Reassignment pending disciplinary action
Gray v Crew, 267 AD2d 98

Prior to the filing of disciplinary charges against Dr. Simpson Gray, the New York City Community Superintendent advised Gray of the charges and “the nature of the complaints against him.” The Superintendent also told Dr. Gray that he would be transferred to the “district office” and reassigned to perform administrative duties pending the determination of the charges to be filed against him.

Gray challenged the transfer and reassignment to administrative duties but a State Supreme Court justice rejected his petition to rescind the superintendent’s decision. The Appellate Division, First Department, sustained the lower court’s dismissal of Gray’s petition.

The relevant law in this situation: subdivisions 7(c) and 8 of Section 2590-j of the Education Law. Subdivision 7(c) requires the community superintendent, “in advance of the filing of charges and specification,” to inform the teacher or administrator and the community board of “the nature of the complaint.” The court said that the community superintendent had complied with this requirement.

The court also noted that Subdivision 8 authorizes the community superintendent to transfer teachers and supervisors within the district without their consent for a number of reasons including “disciplinary action pursuant to subdivision 7....”

The Appellate Division said that “[c]ontrary to [Gray’s] claims” there were no procedural violations and the community superintendent “properly exercised” discretionary authority when Gray was transferred to the District Office pending the determination of disciplinary charges then pending against him.

The court also concluded held that Gray’s right to due process was not violated “since the discretionary transfer to which [Gray] was subject does not implicate due process concerns.”

Gray also argued that the reassignment caused him “irreparable financial or professional harm attributable to the Superintendent’s action.” The Appellate Division disagreed, pointing out “the transfer did not entail any reduction in [Gray’s] pay, and [Gray’s] lawsuit provides the basis for recovery of damages, if any.

The Appellate Division dismissed Gray appeal, setting out the following three reasons for its ruling:

1. Gray failed to show his probability of success on the merits;

2. Gray failed to prove any danger that he would suffer irreparable injury in the absence of the requested relief; and

3. Gray did not demonstrate that the equities balanced in his favor.

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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