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:
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:
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.
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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.