Reinstated administrator entitled to back salary and benefits from the date of his termination until the date of his reassignment by the employer
Appeal of Ford from actions of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Troy, et. al., Decisions of the Commissioner of Education, Decision #16,443
The Commissioner sustained Tracy Ford’s challenge to his termination by the City School District of the City of Troy [Board] in part.
Ford, a certified School Administrator and Supervisor and School District Leader, was appointed to a position in the K-12 administrative tenure area as an Elementary School Principal effective September 17, 2007. This appointment was subject to Ford’s satisfactory completion of a probationary period and he was subsequently advised that he had been granted tenure in the title effective September 1, 2010.
On May 20, 2011, the Board notified Ford that his position was abolished and as he was the least senior employee in his tenure area he would be terminated effective June 30, 2011. Ford appealed, contending that he was improperly tenured in the elementary principal tenure area instead of the K-12 administrator tenure area. Accordingly, Ford argued, he was improperly terminated because he was not the least senior administrator in the K-12 administrative tenure area or, alternatively, that he was entitled to fill a vacant position in the K-12 administrative tenure area when his position was abolished.
The Board then adopted a resolution rescinding its action terminating Ford and “clarified” his tenure area as Administrator K-12. It then reassigned Ford to School 16, effective August 26, 2011.
In rebuttal to Ford’s seeking to have the Board’s actions excessing him declared null and void and reinstatement to an administrative position within the district, with full seniority rights, benefits and pay retroactive to June 30, 2011, the district argued that Ford failed to meet his burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief he requested and that the petition must be dismissed as moot and untimely.
In support of its argument, the District pointed to its September 7, 2011 board resolution rescinded its action terminating Ford and his reinstatement to a principal position in the K-12 administrative tenure area.
Noting that an appeal will only decide “matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest,” the Commissioner said that to the extent that Ford challenged his termination in June 2011 or requests reinstatement to a position in the K-12 administrative tenure area, these claims are moot.”
However, said the Commissioner, Ford’s request for relief also included seniority credit, benefits and pay retroactive to June 30, 2011, contending that he had not been paid and/or received benefits and/or accrued seniority credit from June 30, 2011 through August 26, 2011. This aspect of Ford’s appeal was not rendered moot by the Board’s action.
The Commissioner said that the Board resolution clearly rescinded its action to terminate Ford in June 2011. However, said the Commissioner, as the Board continued Ford’s employment as an elementary principal in the district from June 30, 2011 until he was reassigned to School 16 on August 26, 2011, he is therefore entitled to receive salary, benefits and any seniority credits accrued during this time period.
Under the circumstances the Commissioner declined to dismiss this aspect of Ford’s claim as untimely and ordered the Board to reinstate him with back pay, benefits and seniority credit retroactive to June 30, 2011.
The decision is posted on the Internet at: