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August 13, 2013

Appointing authority's reliance on the findings of the disciplinary hearing officer

Appointing authority's reliance on the findings of the disciplinary hearing officer
34 AD3d 1219

The petitioner challenged the decision of the School Board to terminate his employment with the school district, contending that the Board’s action was arbitrary and capricious because it did not set out the factual reasons for its action.

The President of the Board, however, had submitted an affidavit to the court indicating that the Board, after reviewing the findings and recommendations of the hearing officer, had adopted both the hearing officers's findings as to guilty and the penalty recommended by the hearing officer.

The Appellate Division said that since the petitioner failed to produce any evidence that the Board (1) failed to make an independent appraisal of the evidence and (2) failed to reach independent conclusion, it “declined to disturb the Board's determination, ” under the circumstances, the Board was entitled to rely on and adopt the findings of fact and the recommendation of the Hearing Officer who conducted petitioner’s hearing pursuant to §75 of the Civil Service Law.

The court then dismissed the petitioner’s appeal, rejecting his claim that that [1] the Hearing Officer's findings of fact and recommendations were not based on substantial evidence and [2] imposing the penalty of termination was shocking to one's sense of fairness.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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