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Saturday, December 1, 2018

NYC High School Suddenly Changes Admission Policy at the 11th Hour

Millenium High School
Chalkbeat reports that the admissions rules at Millenium High School have changed just weeks before applications are due....to increase diversity.

Whenever I read "Surprise"...."untimely"....How the change could increase diversity is unclear",
I smell trouble.

It looks to me and others who understand the chaos within the Department of Education that the new "Equity For All" Policy may indeed be just the latest garbage thrown out by the Department. Our new Chancellor, Richard Carranza, came to NYC from Houston Texas and may not know the ways and politics of New York City.

We do not believe that there is no one in NYC who could do the job of Chancellor. Not possible.

 Betsy Combier
betsy.combier@gmail.com
Editor, Advocatz.com
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, Parentadvocates.org
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice

Surprise: Manhattan’s Millennium High School changes admissions rules just weeks before application deadline
Chalkbeat, November 26, 2018
A sought-after Lower Manhattan high school has changed its admissions rules just weeks before applications are due, in an effort that school officials say is aimed at increasing diversity.

 Until now, Millennium High School has given top preference to students living below Houston Street, then prioritized students living elsewhere in Manhattan. According to the city, just four students from outside the borough were offered a seat at the school last year.

That didn’t sit right with school officials, who asked the city this spring to eliminate the preference for Manhattan students from above Houston Street. The education department approved that request — months later, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

“It came at the 11th hour,” Kathy Lee, Millennium’s parent coordinator, said about the approval. “It’s not the most timely change.” [Emphasis added-Ed]

The change shouldn’t affect how students rank schools on their high school application, due Dec. 3. The city’s algorithm is designed to work as long as students rank schools they are eligible to attend in the order they’d like to attend them.

Still, it is likely to reduce some Manhattan students’ chance of admission — and is sure to create anxiety among eighth-graders as they learn that admissions rules are changing as the deadline nears. Lee said she has been fielding calls and emails from anxious families ever since the school updated its website last week, she said.

The shift also highlights a tension in the city’s efforts to increase school diversity. When community school districts put forth plans to integrate schools, as has happened recently in Manhattan’s District 3 and Brooklyn’s District 15, those changes affect only elementary or middle schools and are made after public conversation. Admissions rules for high schools, on the other hand, change at individual schools’ request, and they follow an opaque process and timeline. (One big exception: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed changes for the city’s specialized high schools, which use a separate admissions system.)

“Schools make decisions about admissions priorities in collaboration with their superintendent and the Office of Student Enrollment,” a city education department spokesperson, Will Mantell, wrote in an email.

“Millennium leadership worked with the Office of Student Enrollment to look at data, and change its admissions priority in a way that worked best for the school community and the goals it is trying to accomplish.”

Millennium is keeping the Lower Manhattan preference, which resulted in students living or attending middle school below Houston Street receiving 70 percent of offers last year. Last school year, city data show that 45 percent of Millennium students were Asian, 31 percent were white, 14 percent were Hispanic, and 6 percent were black.

How the change could increase diversity is unclear. [Emphasis added - Ed.] The area south of Houston includes Chinatown, and while Manhattan north of Houston Street has many affluent and white families, it also includes the borough’s largest concentrations of black and Hispanic students. Other boroughs have lower proportions of white and affluent students, but the school could still easily fill its seats with those students.

A note posted to the school’s website suggests that further changes could come to the school. “This revision, made with the support of Superintendent Richard Cintron and Executive Superintendent Recy Benjamin Dunn, is an important step in promoting equity of access to Millennium,” the note reads.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Teacher and Coach Steve DeCaro is Re-Assigned From His Duties in Mattituck-Cutchogue School District, Leading To Mass Public Protest

 Yes, there are rubber rooms outside of New York City. Steve DeCaro, a beloved teacher and coach in the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District, was suddenly reassigned during the week of October 7, 2018, and no one is happy.....except some secret accuser, somewhere.
This process still makes no sense to me, 16 years after I started studying it.

Mattituck-Cutchogue board approves new physics teacher

11/16/2018


Mattituck-Cutchoque parent Chris McDonald

Mattituck-Cutchogue board approves new physics teacher

11/16/2018
LINK

Despite the approval of physics and AP Physics teacher Tom Tomaszewski at the Mattituck-Cutchogue board meeting, seven parents, students and alumni returned to the microphone Thursday to voice continued concerns about teacher and coach Steve DeCaro.

Mr. DeCaro was placed on administrative leave the week of Oct. 7 for unspecified reasons. As a result, October’s board meeting brought about 200 community members to show their support for Mr. DeCaro and express their frustrations to the board. A month later, the reason for his leave has still not been disclosed.

Roughly fifty people attended the meeting Thursday evening, filling most of the library seats. A lawyer representing the district, Christopher Venator, was also present. Vice President Marylynn Hoeg told community members that the board recognizes the community’s frustrations regarding “ongoing teacher concerns” and is listening to their comments.

“We are legally bound to confidentiality constraints,” she said. “We have received many emails from people on all sides of these issues. We want you to know that we read every email, we read the posts on social media, as well as the articles in the local paper. We do hear you, and acknowledge as well as appreciate, your concern.”

Of the seven people who spoke at the meeting, four were familiar faces — returning to the microphone since last month’s meeting.

This included Lauren Gilbert, who has two boys in Cutchogue-East. She said that Donna Finnigan, a previous fourth-grade teacher in the district, was placed on administrative leave last August, also for an undisclosed reason. Ms. Finnigan was brought back to the classroom last Wednesday as a math AIS instructor, a teacher that offers extra help to struggling students. Ms. Gilbert said this position doesn’t reflect Ms. Finnigan’s experience.

“Her position within this school district is less than desirable,” she said. “Less than desirable for her, the teachers and the students who should be receiving her amazing skillset in a classroom setting.”

Ms. Gilbert also said she’s frustrated she’s paying for Mr. Tomaszewski, the new teacher, and Mr. DeCaro, whose paid through administrative leave. She said she spoke with Superintendent Jill Gierasch about Mr. DeCaro.

“Ms. Gierasch made me aware that these things take time, which I can understand, but at what cost?” she said. “The cost is our tax money going to two teacher salaries, one who is proven to be successful in our district, being forced to stay home, and one who has been brought in as his leave replacement. The cost is the student’s education which has basically been put on hold for over a month.”

Senior student Madison Schmidt, who said she’s taken five AP courses over the course of her high school career, said her AP Physics grades are suffering as a result of having no teacher in the classroom for roughly a month.

“I signed up for this course with the knowledge of who my teacher was going to be,” she said. “For about a month, we have essentially been left on our own. Most of that time was spent having a class-wide ping-pong tournament.”

Ms. Schmidt also said the class has not completed a single AP Physics lab thus far. According to the College Board website, teachers are required to spend 25 percent of class time on hands-on labs to engage in the seven AP science practices for the course.

As a result, some parents in the district have asked the district to consider modifying AP Physics grades as a result of Mr. DeCaro’s absence.

“As the students grades have been glaringly and negatively affected by this fiasco, is the administration willing to change last quarter’s grade for affected students to a pass-fail?” Chris McDonald, who has a senior student at Mattituck, asked the board.

Laural Olsen, whose senior son is taking AP Physics, also agreed she’s concerned with children’s education after the class had no teacher for a month.

“Honestly, there did not appear to be a plan in place. The replacement for that teacher was approved on tonight’s board agenda, but he has been out of that classroom for over a month.” Ms. Olsen said. “Are we considering a plan for addressing the gap in our children’s education with the college’s they’re applying to?”

After hearing both complaints, Ms. Hoeg said she understands their frustrations since her daughter is a senior student in Physics.

“We will look into the pass-fail option and we will continue to work on this,” she said.

Tom Farrell, the president of the Mattituck-Cutchogue Teachers Association, was the last to speak. While he said he understands the personnel issue, he’s concerned for the union, and requested that the board offers specific guidelines to teachers in the district.

“There’s 130 of us, and there’s a real sense of the ground shifting under our feet and union members not knowing, literally, where they stand,” Mr. Farrell said. “We need guidance. We need people to step up and tell us what they want from us, and some real clear expectations.”

knalepinski@timesreview.com

Photo caption: Chris McDonald, who has a senior student at Mattituck, question how students’ grades would be impacted. (Kate Nalepinski photo)

 
by Kate Nalepinski, 10/19/18
 “Can I have a show of hands of who is here tonight in support of the high school teacher currently under suspension?”

A sea of about 200 students, parents, alumni, and members of the Mattituck baseball program raised their hands after Lauren Gilbert, the mother of two boys at Cutchogue East Elementary School, asked the question at the Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education meeting Thursday night. A total of 26 other people approached the microphone during the more than two-hour meeting to address concerns with the absence of longtime physics teacher and Mattituck baseball coach, Steve DeCaro, and describe what they feel is a changing culture in the district

“I recognize why many of you are here — it regards Mr. DeCaro,” Board president Charles Anderson said at the beginning of the meeting.

Mr. Anderson announced that the administration is currently investigating the situation and solely the board will determine the future of Mr. DeCaro, who was removed from the classroom last week, according to an Oct. 12 email sent to parents by high school principal Shawn Petretti. Mr. Anderson did not announce the status of Mr. DeCaro’s absence, saying it’s a “confidential matter.”

Superintendent Jill Gierasch emphasized that a replacement teacher, set to begin Oct. 29, is qualified, and another teacher will be available for extra help on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

“This individual has taught physics and AP physics for over nine years,” Ms. Gierasch said. “We are confident he has personal and instructional skills needed to support success.”

But some parents said waiting nearly a month for a full-time replacement teacher wouldn’t cut it.

“To go without one month of properly learning about AP Physics is unacceptable,” said Katie Thomas, who has two sons, one of whom is a current senior. “I don’t know how a new teacher will be perceived by the students, but if it’s like the way it’s working right now, it’ll be a while before the kids can actually learn in that class.”

Ms. Gilbert added: “I have lost faith in this administration.”

Six current members of the Mattituck varsity baseball team spoke during the meeting. They said Mr. DeCaro has not only led the team to success, but they excel academically because of him.

“He pushes us to be the best … Whether it’s in the weight room, whether it’s at practice when we’re going over fundamentals,” said Tyler C. Olsen, a varsity player and AP physics student.

The audience gave the boys a standing ovation after they had all finished speaking.

Sean McDonald, a current AP physics student and member of the varsity baseball team, said he started an internal petition to support his teacher. He received 200 signatures in four days, representing a large percentage of the current high school enrollment.

“With their signatures, these students would depict that they support my physics teacher, and that they disagree with your choice to remove him,” he said. “You represent us, as a community — don’t let us down.”

Jon Lisowy, a current varsity baseball player and student, said he and a classmate compiled a video of 37 alumni and current students defending Mr. DeCaro. He asked the board to present it at the board meeting, but they respectfully declined. Mr. Anderson answered him directly and reassured Jon that all board members would view his video individually.

Kathy Perivolaris, whose son Marcos was a captain on the 2015 state championship team, read a letter her son had written, where he asked that if Mr. DeCaro doesn’t return, the championship banners from their year be removed out of respect for the coach that led them to victory.

Some parents in attendance described the board’s decision as an attack on teachers. Bridget Marine, who has four kids in the district, said the choice to stand up for Mr. DeCaro represents a fight for all teachers.

“We are fighting for all teachers, not just our favorite,” Ms. Marine said. “But he deserves the best.”

Kathleen Delaney, a grandmother of two boys at Cutchogue East, said: “Many of us do not know the facts. We as parents have a right to know.”

Other students spoke about having Mr. DeCaro as a teacher, and said a lot of his “wacky” and “memorable” quirks would be lost if they don’t bring him back to the district.

“He made me look forward to school,” said 2018 graduate Cassidy Bertolas. “Seniors need him to make memories.”

Another student described Mr. DeCaro as “a Mattituck tradition.”

Marguerite Kitz, a longtime teacher at Wading River Elementary School, said removing Mr. DeCaro has jeopardized the quality of the community. Her son, Jack, who was a student at Mattituck, she said, loved Mr. DeCaro.

“He has this sense of community that we moved here for,” she said. “It would be so sad to lose our incredible sense of community … I am proud to say that I live in Mattituck. I don’t want that to change.”

Top photo caption: From left, Christopher Nicholson, Bridget Marine and Lauren Gilbert were among the speakers at Thursday’s meeting. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski)

knalepinski@timesreview.com

NYC Mayor de Blasio Fires Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters, And All Hell Breaks Loose

Mark Peters and Bill de Blasio
photo: Natan Dvir; Brigitte Stelzer
The firing of Department of Investigations Commissioner sure looks like the exact same scenario as when Governor Andrew Cuomo disbanded the Moreland Commission, set up to look at corruption. The Governor stopped The Moreland Commission and disbanded the group after they subpoenaed Cuomo's personnel and records.
Wikipedia posts what happened next:

After the commission was disbanded, the governor and the commission were criticized by government watchdogs, New York prosecutors and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New YorkPreet Bharara. Bharara opened an investigation into the commission, the possible interference by the governor's office, and into the targets of the commission's own incomplete investigations. He also instructed legislators and the governor's office to retain any documents related to the commission.[6][9] In 2015, investigations by Bharara's office resulted in the arrest and conviction of Assembly speaker Silver and Senate majority leader Skelos. Then in January 2016 the U.S. Attorney announced the end of his investigation into the closing of the commission.[10]
In March 2017, President Donald Trump fired Bharara in the midst of an investigation concerning Trump appointees. Bharara later tweeted: "By the way, I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like."[11]

De Blasio Fires Investigations Chief, Citing Abuse of Power

LINK
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday took the extraordinary step of firing his embattled investigations commissioner, Mark G. Peters, the culmination of a fierce rivalry between the two powerful men.

It was a rare and consequential action by a mayor to remove an investigations commissioner: The position is understood to come with a large degree of independence that allows impartial scrutiny of all areas of government, including the executive branch.

But the relationship between Mr. Peters and the mayor had severely deteriorated over time, and the last straw was an independent investigator’s report that found that Mr. Peters had abused his power and mistreated underlings, and said that he was “cavalier with the truth.”

Mr. Peters had produced numerous investigative reports that exposed significant failings in city agencies that were highly embarrassing to Mr. de Blasio, including lapses in performing lead paint inspections at the New York City Housing Authority, and the lifting of deed restrictions on a Lower East Side nursing home that permitted its sale to a developer of luxury condominiums.

Mr. de Blasio on Friday said those investigations did not influence his decision.

“D.O.I. is meant to be critical of city agencies,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference, before delineating the “mistakes and abuses of power” detailed in the independent report on Mr. Peters. “The D.O.I. commissioner is supposed to be the most pristine of all.”

Mr. de Blasio said that he was not influenced by any continuing investigations. Mr. Peters had begun an investigation into whether City Hall sought to influence a review of the educational quality at some Jewish religious schools.

He also said, however, that he regretted hiring Mr. Peters in the first place.

Mr. Peters said in a brief statement that he would issue a fuller written response to his firing in coming days. He said that under his direction the department “exposed corruption and misconduct and forced serious systematic reforms in multiple agencies.”

He wrote that he did not want his staff to take the firing as a defeat, “but rather as proof that the excellent work you do makes a difference — indeed, so much of a difference that “it appears the mayor felt compelled to act.”

The City Charter says the mayor has the power to remove the investigation commissioner, as long as he gives an accounting of his reasons for the firing and allows the commissioner “an opportunity of making a public explanation.”

It said Mr. Peters’s removal would take effect after three business days, a period ending Wednesday that is apparently intended to allow time for Mr. Peters to make the public explanation mentioned in the City Charter.

Mr. Peters fell far and hard. A longtime friend of the mayor, he served as the treasurer for Mr. de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign. When Mr. de Blasio appointed him as the commissioner of the Department of Investigation, the choice was greeted with skepticism, with critics asking whether someone so close to the mayor would be independent enough to pursue investigations into the administration.

Mr. de Blasio often took issue with the findings and defended agency heads who came under Mr. Peters’s scrutiny.

But Mr. Peters finally overreached: Earlier this year, he staged a takeover of an independent office that conducts investigations of the school system. When the head of the office, Anastasia C. Coleman, resisted the takeover, Mr. Peters fired her.

She then filed a whistle-blower complaint, which led to the appointment of an independent investigator: James G. McGovern, a former federal prosecutor.

Mr. de Blasio had considered firing Mr. Peters at the time but decided against it; city officials seemed leery of the possible backlash over firing an investigator who had taken a critical look at the mayor’s governance.

The McGovern report, which was completed in early October, finally gave the mayor the impetus and evidence to force Mr. Peters out.

The City Council was a strong ally of Mr. Peters in his clashes with the mayor’s office, especially under the current Council speaker, Corey Johnson. But the whistle-blower report undermined that support, including the allegations that Mr. Peters had misled the Council.

Mr. Johnson provided a statement on Friday that credited Mr. Peters for exposing “significant issues” at the housing authority and in other agencies, but said “the McGovern report raised questions about his ability to continue in his role.”

But the chairman of the Council’s committee on oversight and investigations, Ritchie Torres, praised Mr. Peters for his independence, adding that he “strongly disagreed” with the firing.

Mr. de Blasio, in a statement released after the dismissal, thanked Mr. Peters for his service but saved his praise for Ms. Garnett.

“Margaret has spent decades protecting the public’s interest, prosecuting criminals both inside and outside of government,” he said.

 

De Blasio's Peters principle: When the mayor moved to boot his top watchdog
NY Daily News, September 21, 2018

Never has a mayor of New York dared fire the anti-corruption watchdog who guards City Hall.

With seven pages drafted by his lawyers earlier this year to deliver the justifications the law says he must, Mayor de Blasio this spring came to the brink of firing Mark Peters as commissioner of the Department of Investigation — and still has the papers on file.

As if he could ever have gotten away with canning the top cop on the beat exposing his administration’s grievous breakdowns and mandating reforms.

Lead paint poisoning children at NYCHA. Swiss cheese child abuse investigations that left other kids dead. Smuggling into city jails, and top Correction brass’ rampant use of city vehicles for personal trips. The sheer incompetence behind the Rivington House nursing home debacle.

Compare that record to the reasons the drafters of the mayor’s memo give to justify firing Peters.

Peters moved to fold into his office the formerly independent Special Commissioner of Investigation for the Department of Education; no one disputes that. De Blasio alleges, and he’s technically likely right, that Peters had no authority to make that move — and badly botched his job offer to the woman in charge, then fired her after she complained about a reorganization.

And that, separately, Peters threw a snit about office space for his staff, supposedly invoking that he had “people with guns in the room” with the power to make arrests. And used similarly heated language when throwing his weight around with then-budget director Dean Fuleihan.

That’s it? That’s it.

That de Blasio keeps the means close at hand to eject his onetime friend and campaign treasurer lays bare two ugly possibilities about his motives.

The mayor is either ready to rid himself of the source of probes that are forcing correction of calamitous mistakes by his administration — or wildly overreactive to Peters’ admittedly brash, at times obnoxious leadership style.

Two years into de Blasio’s first term, the Daily News called for Peters’ resignation on the view — well justified by early investigations that failed to name names or specify sufficient remedial actions — that his close personal relationship with de Blasio precluded the intensive probes this mayor merited.

Peters has since well proven his independence and zeal. The mayor in his target sights has evidently noticed.

Betsy Combier
betsy.combier@gmail.com
Editor, Advocatz.com
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, Parentadvocates.org
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice

One of the many scandals that Bill de Blasio will be "famous" for:

De Blasio: Miscommunication over lead paint exposure ‘has been addressed’

Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed Monday night that any previous miscommunication between the city’s Housing Authority and Health Department over children’s exposure to lead paint in public housing is no longer an issue.
“The problem you raised is unacceptable,” de Blasio told NY1. “It is and has been addressed.”
He was responding to questions about a Department of Investigation probe into how his administration has handled positive lead tests of kids living in public housing.
Hizzoner admitted there was a “gap” between how information was previously gathered by the Health Department and then communicated with the New York City Housing Authority. However, he claimed the problem dated back to the administration of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg — and that he has fixed it.
“The Health Department and NYCHA are on the same page …,” de Blasio said. “We have now caught up. Regular inspections, regular remediation … and that will continue from this point on.”
DOI has requested records from the Health Department about the tests, which showed that as many as 820 kids over five years were exposed to levels of lead that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers dangerous.
The DOI investigation is one of at least two probes into the Health Department’s actions.
–– ADVERTISEMENT ––
City Comptroller Scott Stringer previously announced this month that his office was reviewing the health agency.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Fraud Will Get You Terminated at 3020-a

Evan Mirenberg
Evan Mirenberg, considered an excellent teacher and winner of the 2013 PASCO STEM Awards,  was charged with 16 absences for the  2013-2014 school year:

SPECIFICATION 1: On or about and between September 9, 2013 and June 27, 2014, Respondent,  while
assigned to The Michael E. Berdy School for The Arts, was excessively absent from work
approximately sixteen (16) times on the following dates:

DAY DATE

 1) Monday September 23, 2013*
2) Tuesday October 22, 2013
3) Tuesday November 12, 2013
4) Wednesday November 13, 2013
5) Tuesday January 21, 2014*
6) Wednesday January 22, 2014*
7) Monday February 3, 2014*
8) Monday February 10, 2014
9) Monday March 3, 2014*
10) Friday March 21, 2014*
11) Monday April 7, 2014*
12) Monday April 28, 2014*
13) Monday May 12, 2014*
14) Tuesday May 13, 2014*
15) Wednesday May 21, 2014

SPECIFICATION 2: Approximately on or about between November 1, 2011 and September 2, 2014, Respondent, while assigned to The Michael E. Berdy School for The Arts, was paid for the days he claimed to be sick knowing that he was not entitled to receive said money when he submitted a false or a fraudulent document to explain his absences from work approximately nineteen (19) times on the following dates:

  DAY DATE

1. Tuesday November 1, 2011
2. Wednesday November 2, 2011
3. Monday December 19, 2011*
4. Monday March 12, 2012*
5. Thursday May 10, 2012
6. Friday May 11, 2012
7. Monday December 10, 2012*
8. Monday March 4, 2013*
9. Tuesday November 12, 2013*
10. Wednesday November 13, 2013*
11. Tuesday January 21, 2014*
12. Wednesday January 22, 2014*
13. Friday March 21, 2014*
14. Monday April 7, 2014*
15. Monday April 28, 2014*
16. Monday May 12, 2014*
17. Tuesday May 13, 2014
18. Wednesday May 21, 2014
19. Thursday June 19, 2014

SPECIFICATION 3: Approximately on or about and between November 1, 2011 and September 2, 2014, Respondent, while assigned to the Michael E. Berdy School for The Arts, was paid for the days he claimed to be sick, knowing he was not entitled to receive said money when he submitted a false or a fraudulent document to explain his absences from work, in the amount of approximately $3556.90.

SPECIFICATION 4: During the conduct as stated in Specifications 1, 2 and/or 3 above, Respondent did offer a False Instrument for Filing, in that Respondent, knowing that a written statement contains a false statement or false information, did offer or present it to a public office or public servant with the knowledge or belief that it will filed with, registered or recorded in or otherwise become a part of the records of such public office or public service.

 SPECIFICATION 5: Dismissed

Mr. Mirenberg made a mistake. In order to cover his excessive absences, he handed in altered doctor's notes. He claimed he was in panic mode. Arbitrator Michael Lazan terminated him after looking at all the prior decisions of arbitrators handed in by the Department with similar complaints about the teacher charged with fraudulently handing in doctor's notes and violating the 'honor code' for teachers who take absences for supposedly some kind of illness.
 
The NYC Department of Education cited Penal Law Sect. 170.00(4):
A person "falsely makes" a written instrument when:he makes or draws a complete written instrument in its entirety, or an incomplete written
instrument, which purports to be an authentic creation of its ostensible maker or drawer, but
which is not such either because the ostensible maker or drawer is fictitious or because, if real,
he did not authorize the making or drawing thereof.

Arbitrator Michael Lazan in his 3020-a decision in this case:

"It is regrettable that a teacher capable of good performance put himself in this situation, and it is certainly sad that the students in New York City will have lost a teacher with special expertise. Still, in a case like this, I must conclude that Respondent's actions constitute "conduct unbecoming a teacher," and that there is just cause for terminating Respondent from his position as a teacher for the New York City Department of Education."
Supreme Court Judge Lucy Billings originally had this case on Appeal (Article 75) and denied the DOE's Motion To Dismiss for insufficient supporting evidence. The case was transferred to the Part of Judge Carmen Victoria St. George, who granted the DOE's Motion To Dismiss and denied Mr. Mirenberg's Petition to vacate his termination.

The lesson here is that no DOE employee should create fake documents because he/she, if charged with 3020-a, will be terminated.

Below is the decision:

MATTER OF MIRENBERG v. NEW YORK CITY DEPT. OF EDUC.
Email Print Comments (0)

653846/2015.


2018 NY Slip Op 50670(U)

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF EVAN MIRENBERG, Petitioner, v. NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Respondent.

Supreme Court, New York County.

Decided May 9, 2018.




Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

The Charrington Firm, P.C., Karen H. Charrington , One Cross Island Plaza, Suite 212, Rosedale, NY 11422, for Petitioner.

Corporation Counsel, Shirley W. Bi , 100 Church Street, New York, NY 10007-2601, for Respondent.




CARMEN VICTORIA ST. GEORGEJ.

In this proceeding, petitioner seeks an order which reverses Arbitrator Michael Lazan's November 11, 2015 decision sustaining certain specifications and charges against him. Petitioner further seeks a declaration that the penalty, the termination of his employment as a special needs teacher, was disproportionate and shocking to the conscience; a modification of the award to include a lesser penalty; reinstatement with back pay and full credit for the period of his allegedly wrongful termination for the purposes of retirement benefits; and removal of petitioner from the ineligible list.

Initially, respondent the New York City Department of Education (DOE) filed a pre-answer cross-motion to dismiss the petition, and petitioner moved for a preliminary injunction in lieu of notice of petition. On May 17, 2017, Justice Lucy Billings, who previously presided over the case, issued the order which denied the cross-motion and the request for injunctive relief. As to the cross-motion, Justice Billings ruled that without the full record of the administrative proceedings respondent did not sustain its burden. As to the request for preliminary relief, the judge concluded that although petitioner had set forth cognizable legal claims he had not shown a likelihood of success on the merits. Following the issuance of Justice Billings' order, respondent answered the petition and the parties filed additional papers. The matter subsequently was transferred to this Part, and this Court heard oral argument. At the end of the argument, this Court requested letter briefs on recent Court of Appeals cases and on the pertinent concurring opinions. The Court has considered all the material before it, including the subsequent letter briefs, and incorporated its conclusions into this decision. After careful consideration, this Court dismisses the petition.

Petitioner became a certified special education teacher in 2004 and he worked for respondent until his termination in 2015. Throughout his employment with the DOE respondent, he received positive performance evaluations, received awards and praise as a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educator, including a STEM Educator Award in 2012 and a Brooklyn Borough President's Proclamation regarding his work involving LEGO education. LEGO named him "teacher of the month" in June 2013, and Scholastic Educator Magazine featured him in its article, "Super Cool Teacher" in March 2014.

According to petitioner, he has suffered from an anxiety disorder as well as attention deficit syndrome since high school. Petitioner alleges that for a period of eight years he was treated for this disorder by Dr. Dean F. Giannone without success. He states that now he is treated by Dr. Judy Scher, and under her care he successfully manages these disabilities. Currently, petitioner teaches at a private school. Before his disorder was under control, and while he was an employee of respondent, he missed several days of work annually due to his disability. Like all teachers, petitioner was entitled to take a maximum of ten sick days per year from his cumulative absence reserve (CAR). A doctor's note is not required for these absences, although employees are encouraged to submit such notes whenever possible. Furthermore, a teacher can take "self-treatment" days when he or she does not treat with a doctor; this must relate to a teacher's illness or disability for a condition for which self-care is approved. Finally, more than ten additional absences — other than days for jury duty, funerals, and other exceptions — is considered excessive.

The charges which led to petitioner's termination relate to petitioner's work at two schools. Petitioner spent seven years as a special education classroom teacher at the first of these schools, P.S. 188. During his eighth year, the 2013-2014 school year, he piloted the school's STEM and robotics program. Around June 5, 2014, Principal Frederick Tudda, discussed petitioner's high number of absences for the 2013-2014 school year. Petitioner informed the principal that he had kidney problems. The principal wrote a letter to petitioner's file about this conversation, including the comment that his absences were excessive. Furthermore, although petitioner provided lesson plans for the days he was absent from P.S.188, only one other teacher at the school knew how to teach robotics and it would not have been feasible to have that teacher cover petitioner's classes during all his absences.1

Petitioner resigned from P.S. 188 in 2014 and in September 2014 he commenced a new job, as a magnet resource specialist at P.S. 307K. He obtained this position pursuant to a $1.8 million grant which enabled the school to develop into a STEM magnet school. The school hired one other magnet resource specialist at petitioner's level as well as a senior magnet resource specialist. The job required him to instruct third, fourth, and fifth grade students regarding STEM and to train the other teachers at the school so that they also could teach STEM. Petitioner was absent twice in mid-September, his first month at P.S. 307K, and he provided a medical note to the principal. Principal Roberta Davenport's secretary pointed out that the note looked suspicious, and the principal contacted Dr. Giannone, who purportedly authored the note. The doctor stated that he did not write the note.

After she received the doctor's response, Principal Davenport met with petitioner. Petitioner, who was accompanied by his union representative, reiterated the statement he made to Principal Tudda at P.S. 188, that he had kidney problems. He added that he had undergone an MRI on one of the dates in question. On October 13, 2014, Principal Davenport notified the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District (SCI) of the incident. SCI undertook an investigation, determined petitioner had committed fraud, recommended that petitioner be terminated from his position, and referred the matter to the Kings County District Attorney's (DA) office for review. In addition, SCI made similar findings and made a subsequent referral to the DA when, after further investigation, Principal Davenport discovered fifteen similar notes in petitioner's personnel file.

Respondent commenced two cases seeking petitioner's termination. The cases include the following specifications, which relate to petitioner's work at The Michael E. Berdy School for The Arts (P.S. 188) and at Daniel Hale William, The Magnet School for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical Studies (P.S. 307K):

CASE No. 26,748SPECIFICATION 1: On or about and between September 9, 2013 and June 27, 2014, [petitioner], while assigned to The Michael E. Berdy School for The Arts, was excessively absent from work approximately sixteen (16) times on the following dates:DAY DATE 1) Monday September 23, 2013*2 2) Tuesday October 22, 2013 3) Tuesday November 12, 2013 4) Wednesday November 13, 2013 5) Tuesday January 21, 2014* 6) Wednesday January 22, 2014* 7) Monday February 3, 2014* 8) Monday February 10, 2014 9) Monday March 3, 2014* 10) Friday March 21, 2014* 11) Monday April 7, 2014* 12) Monday April 28, 2014* 13) Monday May 12, 2014* 14) Tuesday May 13, 2014* 15) Wednesday May 21, 2014 16) Thursday June 19, 2014SPECIFICATION 2: On or about September 16 and/or September 17, 2014, [while] assigned to [P.S. 307k] [petitioner] submitted and/or caused to be submitted a false and/or fraudulent doctor's note to the Department stating that he had seen a doctor in order to excuse his absences from work.SPECIFICATION 3: On or about September 16 and/or September 17, 2014, while assigned to [P.S. 307K], [petitioner] was paid for the day he claimed to be sick knowing that he was not entitled to receive said money when he submitted a false or fraudulent document to explain his absences from work.CASE # 27,238SPECIFICATION 1: Approximately on or about between November 1, 2011 and September 2, 2014, [petitioner], while assigned to [P.S. 188], submitted and/or caused to be submitted a false and/or fraudulent doctor's notes to the Department stating that he had seen a doctor in order to excuse his absences from work approximately (19) times on the following dates:DAY DATE 1. Tuesday November 1, 2011 2. Wednesday November 2, 2011 3. Monday December 19, 2011* 4. Monday March 12, 2012* 5. Thursday May 10, 2012 6. Friday May 11, 2012 7. Monday December 10, 2012* 8. Monday March 4, 2013* 9. Tuesday November 12, 2013* 10. Wednesday November 13, 2013* 11. Tuesday January 21, 2014* 12. Wednesday January 22, 2014* 13. Friday March 21, 2014* 14. Monday April 7, 2014* 15. Monday April 28, 2014* 16. Monday May 12, 2014* 17. Tuesday May 13, 2014 18. Wednesday May 21, 2014 19. Thursday June 9, 2014SPECIFICATION 2: Approximately on or about between November 1, 2011 and September 2, 2014, [petitioner], while assigned to [P.S. 188], was paid for the days he claimed to be sick knowing that he was not entitled to receive said money when he submitted a false or fraudulent document to explain his absences from work approximately nineteen (19) times on the following dates:DAY DATE 1. Tuesday November 1, 2011 2. Wednesday November 2, 2011 3. Monday December 19, 2011* 4. Monday March 12, 2012* 5. Thursday May 10, 2012 6. Friday May 11, 2012 7. Monday December 10, 2012* 8. Monday March 4, 2013* 9. Tuesday November 12, 2013* 10. Wednesday November 13, 2013* 11. Tuesday January 21, 2014* 12. Wednesday January 22, 2014* 13. Friday March 21, 2014* 14. Monday April 7, 2014* 15. Monday April 28, 2014* 16. Monday May 12, 2014* 17. Tuesday May 13, 2014 18. Wednesday May 21, 2014 19. Thursday June 9, 2014SPECIFICATION 3: Approximately on or about between November 1, 2011 and September 2, 2014, [petitioner], while assigned to [P.S. 188], was paid for the days he claimed to be sick knowing that he was not entitled to receive said money when he submitted a false or fraudulent document to explain his absences from work, in the amount of approximately $3556.90.SPECIFICATION 4: During the conduct as stated in Specifications 1, 2 and/or 3 above, [petitioner] did offer a False Instrument for Filing, in that Respondent, knowing that a written statement contains a false statement or false information, did offer or present it to a public office or public servant with the knowledge or belief that it will [be] filed with, registered or recorded in or otherwise become a part of the records of such public office or public service.SPECIFICATION 5: Approximately on or about between November 1, 2011 and September 2, 2014, [petitioner], while assigned to P.S. 307K . . ., was paid for the days he claimed to be sick knowing that he was not entitled to receive said money when he submitted a false or fraudulent document to explain his absences from work approximately nine (9) times on the following dates:DAY DATE 1. Tuesday September 16, 2014 2. Wednesday September 17, 2014 3. Monday September 29, 2014 4. Friday November 14, 2014 5. Monday November 17, 2014 6. Monday January 12, 2015 7. Tuesday January 13, 2015 8. Monday March 2, 2015 9. Tuesday April 21, 2015

The Foregoing Constitutes:

Just cause for disciplinary actions under Education Law Sect. 3020-a;Conduct unbecoming [petitioner's] position, and conduct prejudicial to the good order, efficiency, or discipline of the service;Fraud;Conduct that could Constitute a Crime;Substantial cause rendering [petitioner] unfit to perform his obligations properly to the service;Violation of Chancellor's Regulations;Violation of the by-laws, rules and regulations of the Chancellor, Department School or District;Neglect of duty; andJust cause for termination*Denotes a day before or after a weekend and/or holiday

(In re New York City Department of Education v Mirenberg, SED File Nos. 26,748/27, 238, Exh. A [NYSCEF doc No. 5] [DOE v Mirenberg], at pp 3-7).

Petitioner and respondent appeared before Arbitrator Michael S. Lazan, Esq. to determine what, if any, penalty was appropriate for the charges above (see Education Law § 3020-a). Arbitrator Lazan held numerous prehearing conferences between April 9, 2015 and July 9, 2015. The hearing began on July 9, 2015 after the prehearing conference, and it continued on July 22, July 23, August 12, August 13, September 17, September 25, and September 30. During the hearings, the arbitrator listened to the testimony of several witnesses including petitioner, the principals of the two schools, Dr. Giannone, and petitioner's father.

In its opening statement on July 9, 2015, respondent3 stated that there were two reasons petitioner should be terminated from his job: 1) he had been excessively absent from school, and 2) he had submitted fraudulent sick notes over the course of several years to justify some of those absences. Petitioner's counsel presented her opening statement on July 22, 2015. Counsel stated that petitioner suffered from a kidney condition and from anxiety. She noted that under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), petitioner's anxiety disorder qualifies as a protected condition. She pointed out that despite his allegedly excessive absences, he received positive or satisfactory ratings during the periods in question; and that, while Principal Tudda discussed petitioner's absences he did not discipline him. Thus, petitioner's absences had not interfered with his job as a teacher.

In his November 2015 determination, Arbitrator Lazan considered the parties' positions. The decision noted that petitioner admitted to altering sixteen medical notes but claimed he did not receive extra pay for the dates in question because he was entitled to ten self-treated days for which no note was required. He stated that he was not excessively absent during the 2014-2015 school year. He finally argued that he altered the medical notes under the influence of his panic attacks and his anxiety disorder. Petitioner claimed that his disorder had prevented him from teaching on the dates he was absent, and his embarrassment about his condition had caused him to lie. He stressed that now, with proper care, he no longer is hampered by his disability.

In response, respondent argued that petitioner defrauded the school system, and that he additionally lied to two school principals about his fabricated kidney condition.4 His misconduct was compounded by the fact that petitioner has never taken responsibility for submitting the notes but instead has attempted to excuse them. They stressed that many of the absences were on Mondays and Fridays, thus extending his weekends, that he repeated this pattern on a regular basis — all of which undercut petitioner's argument that these actions were impulsive and caused by his panic attacks. They noted that Dr. Giannone's progress notes did not support petitioner's position that his anxiety was disabling. They argued that the affidavit of petitioner's current treating therapist, Dr. Scher, is of no probative value as petitioner did not produce her as a witness.

The arbitrator first evaluated petitioner's claim that he is insulated from any adverse employment action under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the ADA) (42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq), which prevents employers from discriminating against individuals with disabilities that do not interfere with their work performance. He determined that, even if petitioner showed the existence of an anxiety disorder,5 he did not show that it had a major limiting impact on his life or his ability to perform his job. Dr. Giannone, the arbitrator noted, testified at the hearing that petitioner could perform normal activities despite his anxiety disorder. The arbitrator further noted that Dr. Scher's affidavit, the sole evidence on which petitioner relied to support this claim, merely stated that petitioner has an anxiety disorder which, during stressful times, impaired his decision-making ability. Relying on federal case law such as Cody v County of Nassau (577 F.Supp.2d 623, 639 [EDNY 2008]), Arbitrator Lazan stated that Dr. Scher's affidavit was insufficient to establish discrimination.

Next, the arbitrator noted that teachers are given the benefit of an honor system as to their self-treated days. Medical documentation is not required for the first ten days of such absences, and — with notice — three of those days may be used for personal business. Arbitrator Lazan concluded that, "[b]y altering the sick notes from Dr. Giannone, [petitioner] effectively sidestepped the Department's policy on `allowing' ten `self-treated' days. Even aside from the fact that [petitioner] committed fraud on [respondent], [petitioner] gave himself permission to take an extra six days of absence without having to provide any medical backup" (DOE v Mirenberg, at p 16). Arbitrator Lazan rejected petitioner's argument that sixteen days of absence is not excessive, relying on Principal Tudda's statement that after ten days, a teacher's absences might be considered excessive and on P.S.188's faculty conference notes, in evidence, which stated as much. The arbitrator further agreed with respondent that because of petitioner's fraud, all of the challenged absences were improper. He stated that, contrary to petitioner's argument, his absences had an impact on the school in 2013-2014. Thus, he sustained the first specification, which related to petitioner's work at P.S.188.

Arbitrator Lazan next sustained the second specification which related to petitioner's actions while he was at P.S.307K. He determined that petitioner falsified the doctor's notes he submitted for September 16 and 17, 2014. As for specification three, the arbitrator found that petitioner improperly accepted payment for these days as he had not submitted any evidence establishing that he was ill, and his then-treating physician credibly testified his anxiety was not disabling and provided progress notes which refute petitioner's statements about his mental health during specified periods. Arbitrator Lazan found that petitioner was not credible, pointing out that he changed his testimony on several occasions when confronted with evidence contradicting his contentions. He further found that petitioner was not credible based on the record, which established that he lied about his purported kidney problems.

The arbitrator also considered the claims in the second case. He sustained specification one, relating to his nineteen falsified doctor's notes at P.S.188. Although, as petitioner argued, an arbitrator generally cannot rule on claims relating to conduct over three years before the filing of the specifications, he had the power to do so here because fraud (a crime) was involved (Educ. Law § 3020-a [1]). He rejected petitioner's arguments that he did not mean to defraud respondent and he found petitioner's contention that he had intended to reveal that he was ill without specifying his condition was of no avail. He stated that, under Aronsky v Department of Education (75 N.Y.2d 997, 1000 [1990]), respondent had satisfied the fraud by the applicable substantial evidence standard.

In addition, the arbitrator sustained specification two in the second case. The specification also relates to the nineteen days for which petitioner submitted fraudulent doctor's notes. As with a similar charge in the first case, Arbitrator Lazan found that petitioner improperly accepted payment for the nineteen days in question. The arbitrator reiterated that "[petitioner's] testimony was inconsistent and at times hard to believe" (DOE v Mirenberg, at p 25) — using, as an example, petitioner's statement that Dr. Giannone knew petitioner was writing altered doctor's notes. Arbitrator Lazan again reviewed Dr. Scher's affidavit and viewed it unpersuasive, noting that she stated petitioner suffered panic attacks in 2007, when he missed very few days of class, and that she did not indicate petitioner's condition prevented him from working. Because he sustained specification two, he sustained specification three, which stated that petitioner improperly accepted money for the days in question. He sustained specification four, which required him to consider whether petitioner violated the penal law. He rejected petitioner's argument that he lacked authority to rule on this issue, concluding that he only considered it only because it was necessary to determine whether he could rule on claims that were over three years old (see Educ. Law § 3020-a [1]).

Finally, the arbitrator dismissed specification five in the second case. This charge alleged that petitioner was excessively absent during his year at P.S.307K. He noted that "the pattern and practice [of respondent] appears to be that more than ten absences in the school year are required for a teacher's absences to be deemed `excessive'" (DOE v Mirenberg, at p 29), and pointed to testimony and evidence supporting his conclusion. He rejected respondent's position that the two fraudulent notes from September transformed his absences from excusable to excessive.

Based on all the aforementioned findings, Arbitrator Lazan concluded that petitioner's termination was justified. He noted that petitioner concededly altered doctor's notes, and that he only stopped doing so when "he was caught by a sharp-eyed secretary and an attentive principal" (id., at p 31). He rejected petitioner's statements that he repented of his wrongdoing, partially on the basis that he didn't acknowledge his wrongdoing and repent of it before he was caught — even after Principal Tudda reprimanded him for his excessive absences. He noted that, notwithstanding petitioner's claim of panic attacks, he was not under the influence of an attack when he turned in the falsified documents. He noted that petitioner's statement that he is now rehabilitated was self-serving and lacked evidentiary support, and that the only witness who supported petitioner's claims was one of his parents. The arbitrator noted that the record supports petitioner's claim that he is a good teacher, but concluded that "dishonesty on this scale cannot be tolerated in the workplace" (id., at p 33). He pointed out that petitioner
submit[ted] cases in support of his position, but not a single case where similar fraud by a teacher results in an arbitrator levying a penalty less than termination. The Department, on the contrary, presents case after case where where teachers submitted fraudulent medical notes and were terminated by arbitrators. See, e.g., New York City Dep't of Educ. v. S.B., Case #5,215 (2006) (Bauchner, Arb.).

Based on the above, Arbitrator Lazan found that respondent had shown — and petitioner had failed to refute — that termination was an appropriate penalty on the facts of the case.

DISCUSSION

Education Law § 3020-a sets forth the procedures and penalties for disciplinary actions against tenured teachers. Subsection five of that statute authorizes judicial review of aarbitrator's decision. That review is limited to grounds set forth in Section 7511(b) (1) of the Civil Practice Law and Rules: 1) corruption, fraud or misconduct in the award's procurement, 2) bias on the part of the arbitrator, 3) a decision which shows the arbitrator exceeded his power or failed to clearly resolve the case, and 4) failure to follow the procedural guidelines. Where parties have submitted to compulsory arbitration, this Court applies a stricter standard of review than it does in voluntary arbitrations (See, e.g., Lackow v. Dep't of Educ., 51 A.D.3d 563, 567 [1st Dept 2008]). The arbitrator's decision must accord with due process, be supported by adequate evidence, and be rational and satisfy the arbitrary and capricious standards under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules (id.) An arbitrator's credibility determinations, however, are "largely unreviewable" (id. at 568). Petitioner bears the burden of proof in challenging the arbitrator's decision under these standards (id.). Moreover, as the Court of Appeals stressed recently in Matter of Bolt v New York City Department of Education (30 N.Y.3d 1065, 1068 [2018]), even if a court disagrees with the severity of the penalty imposed, this "does not provide a basis for vacating the arbitral award or refashioning the penalty."

The Court has set forth the underlying arguments in detail above. In brief, the petition states that the arbitrator was biased, committed legal errors, and reached an arbitrary, irrational conclusion. Petitioner challenges the arbitrator's credibility determinations. He notes the above-cited standard of review and cites to his protected status as a tenured teacher. He also states that in cases involving employees with prior good service, courts have deemed termination too harsh and suspended the teachers instead.

After careful consideration, the Court concludes that there is no merit to Petitioner's contentions in the instant application. The arbitrator's determination, as set forth herein, was rational (Matter of Grassel v Department of Education of the City of New York, 158 A.D.3d 501, 501 [1st Dept 2018]). As in Matter of Berkley v New York City Department of Education,there was ample evidence in the record that supported the arbitrator's decision (see ___ AD3d ___, ___, 2018 NY Slip Op 01669 [1st Dept 2018] [Berkley], at p 3). Petitioner cites to no specific examples of the arbitrator's alleged bias (see Grassel, 158 AD3d at 501), and does not indicate that the arbitrator committed any specific legal error.

Petitioner's argument that the arbitrator did not consider Dr. Scher's affidavit lacks merit. Contrary to petitioner's contention, Arbitrator Lazan considered and discussed the affidavit of Dr. Scher and provided a cogent analysis (see supra, at pp 9, 11), but did keep in mind that she did not appear and was not subject to cross-examination. The arbitrator did not ignore, but commented upon, petitioner's merit as a teacher. He simply concluded that the charges here were serious enough to overshadow petitioner's talent and warrant termination. The arbitrator's credibility findings are "largely unreviewable" (Matter of Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York v Ostrin, 120 A.D.3d 1105 [1st Dept 2014]), and petitioner has not shown evidence sufficient to justify deviation from this deferential standard.

Moreover, the penalty of termination is not disproportionate, as fraud is a serious allegation and petitioner failed to correct his misconduct after his discussion with Principal Tudda (see Berkley, 2018 NY Slip Op 01669, at p 3). As the Court of Appeals found in Bolt, "the penalties imposed are not irrational and do not shock the conscience" (Bolt, 30 NY3d at 1068). The Article 78 proceedings to which petitioner cites in are distinguishable. Bovino v Scott (22 N.Y.2d 214 [1968]), for example, is a 1968 Court of Appeals case under Article 78, not Article 75, and it evaluates the penalty imposed by the Fire Commissioner on a firefighter. Mitthauer v Patterson (8 N.Y.2d 37 [1960]), is a 1960 Court of Appeals decision which also arose under Article 78. In that case, the court affirmed an appellate court decision which modified the penalty imposed on a petitioner, who had an unblemished twenty-year record and then was found to have taken three passengers' fares for herself.6 The First Department's 1958 decision, under Article 78, vacated the dismissal of a Public Works official with a long history of civil service who, during a period of serious illness and numerous surgical procedures, failed to timely complete an examination which the Commissioner of Investigation initiated under the Security Risk Law. The 1971 Court of Appeals case, Picconi v Lowery (28 N.Y.2d 962[1971]), also related to the termination of a firefighter. In addition, the arbitrator did not act irrationally in rejecting petitioner's argument that he submitted the fraudulent doctor's notes due to his disability. Rather, in that case, the arbitrator reasonably found that petitioner's actions were not caused by the disability, both based on petitioner's own testimony that he was not disabled when he submitted the doctor's notes and on the failure of petitioner to submit any supporting evidence.

The Court has considered the parties' other arguments, even if they are not discussed specifically in this order, and they do not alter this conclusion. Therefore, it is

ORDERED that the petition is dismissed.

FootNotes


1. Arbitrator Lazan states this based on the hearing he held and the documents before him. This Court discusses the arbitration supra at page 7.

2. This is a verbatim copy of the specifications. As stated at the end of the charges, the asterisk "Denotes a day before or after a weekend and/or holiday."

3. In the arbitration, respondent here was the "petitioner" and petitioner here was the "respondent." For the sake of clarity, however, the Court uses the titles they have in this proceeding.

4. At times, petitioner's attorney alludes to the fact that petitioner did have kidney issues. The arbitrator found no information tying his absences or his decision to submit fraudulent doctor's notes to his kidney problems.

5. The arbitrator did not decide that petitioner was disabled, but assumed it for the sake of his analysis.

6. She collected the fees and told them not to go through the turnstile.

See also: 
Dep’t of Education v. BrustOATH Index No. 2280/07 (Sept. 29, 2008), adopted, Chancellor’s Decision (Oct. 22, 2008), appended