Decision No. 18,150
Appeal of NANCY HOLLIDAY from action of the Board of Education of the Wyandanch Union Free School District regarding the abolition of positions.
Decision No. 18,150
(July 11, 2022)
The Chandler Law Firm, Monte Malik Chandler, Esq., of counsel
ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the abolition of three positions by the Board of Education of the Wyandanch Union Free School District (“respondent”). The appeal must be dismissed.
On November 18, 2020, respondent voted to abolish the positions of drug and alcohol coordinator and network and systems administrator. On November 30, 2020, respondent amended this resolution to abolish the additional position of network communication specialist. This appeal ensued. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on January 6, 2021.
Petitioner argues that the abolition of the three positions was not in the best interests of students or taxpayers. Petitioner also contends that the board president violated the General Municipal Law. Petitioner further asserts that the “board majority … routinely has private illegal meetings….” Petitioner seeks the following relief: (1) “reinstatement” of the abolished positions; (2) removal of the board president and “all members of the board” who voted to abolish the positions at issue; and (3) rescission of a contract between respondent and a law firm for labor relations services (“law firm”).
Respondent contends that the petition must be dismissed, among other reasons, for lack of standing and for failure to join necessary parties. On the merits, respondent denies that petitioner is entitled to any relief.
Petitioner’s claims concerning the abolition of three positions 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 lacks standing to assert the rights of the employees whose positions were abolished (see Appeal of McCarthy, 54 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 16,631; Appeal of J.R., 42 id. 283, Decision No. 14,856. Merely residing within a school district does not, in and of itself, confer standing to challenge a board of education’s actions concerning its employees (Appeal of DeCastro, 41 Ed Dept Rep 415, Decision No. 14,730; Appeal of Craft and Dworkin, 36 id. 314, Decision No. 13,734; Appeal of Siracusa and Montana, 33 id. 563, Decision No. 13,151). Additionally, petitioner has failed to explain how respondent’s actions affected her rights as a taxpayer (see Appeal of Roth, 50 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 16,171). Consequently, petitioner lacks standing to challenge the abolition of the civil service positions described above.
Petitioner’s application for removal must be dismissed for failure to join necessary parties. An individual whose removal is sought pursuant to Education Law § 306 must be named as a respondent in the caption of the petition to inform him or her that he or she must enter a defense or face the possibility of removal (Appeal of Hadden, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,253; Appeal of Affronti, 54 id., Decision No. 16,756; Appeal of Foshee, 38 id. 346, Decision No. 14,051). Failure to name the individual sought to be removed warrants denial of the application for removal (Application of S.D., 60 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 18,009; Appeal of Hadden, 57 id., Decision No. 17,253; Appeal of Affronti, 54 id., Decision No. 16,756). In this case, only the board was named as a respondent in the caption of the petition. Petitioner’s failure to name any of the board members in the caption is a fatal flaw warranting denial of the application (Appeal of Nappi, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,387; Appeal of Hadden, 57 id., Decision No. 17,253; Appeal of Affronti, 54 id., Decision No. 16,756).
Turning to the merits, in an appeal to the Commissioner, a petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested and establishing the facts upon which he or she seeks relief (8 NYCRR 275.10; Appeal of P.C. and K.C., 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,337; Appeal of Aversa, 48 id. 523, Decision No. 15,936; Appeal of Hansen, 48 id. 354, Decision No. 15,884).
Petitioner has identified no basis to “declare [ ] null and void” the contract between respondent and the law firm. Petitioner merely asserts that the law firm also represents a church where a district employee serves as “interim pastor.” This alone does not establish a violation of the General Municipal Law. In any event, petitioner’s claim would require me to analyze whether the law firm can represent two clients consistent with the New York Rules of Professional Conduct. The Commissioner of Education has no authority to adjudicate such claims (Appeal of the Bd. of Educ. of the City Sch. Dist. of the City of New York, 33 Ed Dept Rep 433, Decision No. 13,104).
In light of this disposition, I need not consider the parties’ remaining arguments.
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
END OF FILE
 Petitioner also identified the titles of the abolished positions in the caption of the appeal; i.e., “The Network and Systems Administrator, Drug and Alcohol Coordinator and Network Communication Specialist.”
 Given this conclusion, I need not determine whether petitioner effectuated alternative service as required by 8 NYCRR 275.8 (f).