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Decision No. 15,634

Appeal of CHRISTINE DUFFY from action of the Board of Education of the Guilderland Central School District regarding an election.

Decision No. 15,634

(August 15, 2007)

Girvin & Ferlazzo, attorneys for respondent, Kathy Ann Wolverton, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges actions of the Board of Education of the Guilderland Central School District (“respondent”) regarding its May 15, 2007 school board election.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner maintains that respondent improperly permitted individuals to bring campaign literature into a polling place.  Petitioner asks that I find that an irregularity occurred and requests that I invalidate the school board election and order a new election.

Respondent contends that the appeal must be dismissed for failure to join necessary parties.

The petition must be dismissed for failure to join necessary parties.  A party whose rights would be adversely affected by a determination of an appeal in favor of a petitioner is a necessary party and must be joined as such (Appeal of Samuel, 45 Ed Dept Rep 418, Decision No. 15,371; Appeal of Meringolo, 45 id. 128, Decision No. 15,281; Appeal of Kelly, 45 id. 38, Decision No. 15,253).  Joinder requires that an individual be clearly named as a respondent in the caption and served with a copy of the notice of petition and petition to inform the individual that he or she should respond to the petition and enter a defense (Appeal of Samuel, 45 Ed Dept Rep 418, Decision No. 15,371; Appeal of Meringolo, 45 id. 128, Decision No. 15,281; Appeal of Kelly, 45 id. 38, Decision No. 15,253).  Section 275.8(d) of the Commissioner’s regulations provides in pertinent part: "If an appeal involves the validity of a school district meeting or election, ... a copy of the petition must be served upon the trustee or board of trustees or board of education as the case may be, and upon each person whose right to hold office is disputed and such person must be joined as a respondent" (emphasis added).

In this case, petitioner has not named or personally served the members of respondent board who were successful candidates in the election.  Therefore, the appeal must be dismissed for failure to join necessary parties.

In light of this disposition, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE