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Decision No. 13,296

Appeal of ALEXANDER REYES from action of the Board of Education of the Brentwood Union Free School District regarding conduct of a board meeting.

Decision No. 13,296

(December 1, 1994)

Bernard T. Callan, Esq., attorney for respondent

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges actions taken in connection with a meeting held by the Board of Education of the Brentwood Union Free School District ("respondent") on June 14, 1994. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner alleges that respondent violated the Open Meetings Law in the conduct of a June 14, 1994 meeting. Specifically, petitioner contends that respondent prevented the public from attending a secret meeting of the board and that the public was required to stand in an area that was not air-conditioned while waiting for the start of the board meeting. Petitioner further contends that when respondent commenced the open part of its meeting, it did not follow the scheduled agenda.

Respondent maintains that it did not conduct a secret meeting, but properly excluded the public from an executive session in which it discussed personnel issues. Respondent denies petitioner's other contentions regarding alleged violations of the Open Meetings Law. Public Officers Law '102(1) provides that enforcement of the Open Meetings Law may be accomplished through either a proceeding pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules Article 78 or an action for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. Violations of the Open Meetings Law may not be determined in an appeal to the Commissioner of Education pursuant to Education Law '310 (Appeal of Gillen, 33 Ed Dept Rep 690; Appeal of Brown, 32 id. 212). Accordingly, petitioner's claims regarding the Open Meetings Law must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

Petitioner also asserts some unspecified claim regarding federal Chapter I funds and annexation to a central school district. Commissioner's regulation '275.10 provides that a petition:

shall contain a clear and concise statement of the petitioner's claim showing that the petitioner is entitled to relief, and shall further contain a demand for the relief to which the petitioner deems himself entitled. Such statement must be sufficiently clear to advise the respondent of the nature of petitioner's claim and of the specific act or acts complained of.

The petition does not contain a clear statement of petitioner's claim. Rather, it is so incomprehensible that it precludes respondent from mounting an appropriate defense. Moreover, I am unable to determine the nature of petitioner's claim, the basis of his claim, or the relief sought. Accordingly, the petition must be dismissed, as deficient under '275.10.