Decision No. 18,059
Appeal of BENJAMIN MORDEN from action of the New York City Department of Education regarding a request for the removal of Shino Tanikawa and reinstatement of Maud Maron as President to the Community Education Council District 2.
Decision No. 18,059
(November 29, 2021)
Georgia Pestana, Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, attorney for respondent, Sharon Sprayregen, Esq., of counsel
ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals a determination of the New York City Department of Education (“respondent”) denying his request for the removal of Shino Tanikawa as borough president appointee and reinstatement of Maud Maron as president of the Community Education Council District 2 (“CEC D2”). The appeal must be dismissed.
Given the disposition of this appeal, a detailed recitation of the facts is unnecessary. Ms. Tanikawa was selected as a borough president appointee to CEC D2. On September 8, 2020, then-president of CEC D2, Maud Maron, was removed from office pursuant to a resolution co-sponsored by Ms. Tanikawa. On October 16, 2020, petitioner submitted a grievance to respondent seeking the removal of Ms. Tanikawa from CEC D2 and annulment of the vote removing Ms. Maron as president. By email dated November 6, 2020, respondent denied petitioner’s requested relief. This appeal ensued.
Petitioner argues that Ms. Tanikawa should be removed from office due to her alleged ineligibility to serve on CEC D2 under the Chancellor’s regulations and her purported “egregious behavior” prior to and during CEC D2’s October 13, 2020 meeting. Petitioner also seeks the reinstatement of Ms. Maron, whom petitioner alleges was improperly removed from CEC D2.
Respondent argues that the appeal must be dismissed because petitioner’s arguments are based upon a typographical error in a prior version of the Chancellor’s regulations. Respondent also argues that it has limited oversight of CECs and does not oversee internal policy discussions, including alleged discussions that occurred between Ms. Tanikawa, Ms. Maron, and petitioner.
With regard to petitioner’s argument that respondent erred in declining his request to remove Ms. Tanikawa, the appeal must be dismissed as moot. The Commissioner will only decide matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts that no longer exists due to the passage of time or a change in circumstances (Appeal of Sutton, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,331; Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 id. 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937; see Matter of Hearst Corp. v Clyne, 50 NY2d 707, 714 ). Where the Commissioner can no longer award a petitioner meaningful relief on his or her claims, no live controversy remains and the appeal must be dismissed (Appeal of R.B., 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,394; Appeal of N.C., 40 id. 445, Decision No. 14,522). Pursuant to an affirmation submitted by counsel for respondent dated October 14, 2021, Ms. Tanikawa is not currently serving as a council member of CEC D2. Accordingly, the portion of the appeal that requests that Ms. Tanikawa be removed from this position is moot.
Additionally, to the extent petitioner seeks the reinstatement of Ms. Maron as president, the appeal must be dismissed for lack of standing. An individual may not maintain an appeal pursuant to Education Law § 310 unless aggrieved in the sense that he or she has suffered personal damage or injury to his or her civil, personal, or property rights (Appeal of Abitbol, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,333; Appeal of Waechter, 48 id. 261, Decision No. 15,853). Only an individual who is directly affected by an action has standing to commence an appeal therefrom (Appeal of Abitbol, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,333; Appeal of Waechter, 48 id. 261, Decision No. 15,853). Petitioner is not directly affected by any action that resulted in Ms. Maron’s removal from CEC D2. As such, petitioner has not established the requisite personal harm necessary to seek Ms. Maron’s reinstatement as president (Appeal of Campbell and Lanzilotta, 50 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 16,246).
In light of this determination, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
END OF FILE