In an apparent case of first impression the Appellate Division, First Department, has unanimously affirmed a lower court's determination that the only way to discipline a tenured pedagogue was through the 3020-a process and it was improper to utilize the Conflicts of Interest Board for such employees.
The case, In re Stephen Rosenblum, the DOE declined to bring 3020-a charges against a tenured Assistant Principal (acting as a principal at the time) for allegedly using his influence to call the principal at another school where his son was a teacher to save his son's job. The son's principal reported Rosenblum and the DOE referred the matter to the Conflicts of Interest Board.
The Conflicts of Interest Board is a City agency which rules on issues where, among other things, city employees are alleged to utilize their city employment in improper ways. The COIB attorneys offered Rosenblum a $10,000 fine and he brought a lawsuit declaring that, as a tenured pedagogue, the COIB had no right to discipline him since the exclusive method for disciplining tenured pedagogues was through the 3020-a process.
The lower court and the Appellate Division agreed. There have been many tenured pedagogues who have been disciplined by the COIB. Under COIB rules the case goes before an OATH Administrative Judge (a city employee) who makes factual findings and disciplinary recommendations to City Department heads after an administrative hearing. Under 3020-a rules, arbitrators, jointly picked by the DOE and the Union, make final disciplinary determinations.