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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Individual’s unsatisfactory annual performance rating annulled in the absence of rationally based administrative findings


Individual’s unsatisfactory annual performance rating annulled in the absence of rationally based administrative findings
2014 NY Slip Op 01501, Appellate Division, First Department

A New York City school teacher [Teacher] filed an Article 78 petition challenging the New York City Board of Education’s denial of her appeal of her unsatisfactory annual performance rating. Supreme Court granted the Board’s motion to deny the teacher’s petition and dismissed the proceeding.

The Appellate Division unanimously reversed the lower court’s decision “on the law.” It then granted Teacher’s petition and annulled the challenged unsatisfactory annual performance rating.

The court said that Board’s determination to sustain Teacher’s unsatisfactory performance rating was not rationally based on administrative findings that Teacher had acted in an insubordinate manner and refused to adhere to the directives of the principal during the school year.

In addition, the Appellate Division found that Teacher had established that the Board had violated its own rules, procedures and guidelines contained in its human resources handbook "Rating Pedagogical Staff Members" by placing certain disciplinary letters in Teacher’s personnel file which neither contained Teacher's signature acknowledging receipt of the letters nor a witness' statement attesting to Teacher's refusal to sign the documents in question..

The decision notes that neither the principal who made the allegations against Teacher nor any other witness testified at the hearing.

Under the circumstances, the Appellate Division said that remittitur to Supreme Court for service of an answer to Teacher’s petition by the Board was not warranted "as the facts have been fully presented in the parties' papers and no factual dispute remains."

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2014/2014_01501.htm
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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/

A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances 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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