Thursday, April 21, 2016

Lack of prior misconduct not sufficient to mitigate imposing the penalty of dismissal given the fraudulent nature of the individual’s misconduct


Lack of prior misconduct not sufficient to mitigate imposing the penalty of dismissal given the fraudulent nature of the individual’s misconduct
Ronga v New York City Dept. of Educ., 2016 NY Slip Op 02921, Appellate Division, First Department

In an earlier decision, Ronga v New York City Department of Education, 114 AD3d 527, the Appellate Division sustained the findings of the Disciplinary Hearing Officer that Ronga, a probationary principal at a New York City public school, [1] improperly directed subordinates to create fabricated teacher observation reports and professional development plans for which he himself was personally responsible, and [2] submitted those reports and plans to the superintendent.  

That court, however, had dismissed certain other charges and specifications filed against Ronga on due process grounds, vacated the penalty of termination imposed by the Hearing Officer, and then remanded the matter to the Hearing Officer for consideration of the appropriate penalty to be imposed based on the surviving charges and specifications.

The Hearing Officer, in accordance with the Appellate Division’s directive, reconsidered the penalty to be imposed and reimposed the penalty of termination. Again Ronga appealed but this time the Appellate Division affirmed the penalty the Hearing Officer had determined – dismissal from the position.

The Appellate Division explained that “[d]espite [Ronga’s] long-standing work history and lack of prior misconduct, given the fraudulent nature of his misconduct, the fact that he coerced subordinates into being complicit in his malfeasance, and the fact that his misconduct deprived teachers of important observations and evaluations, the penalty of termination does not shock [its] sense of fairness.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
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