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Decision No. 14,424

Reopening of appeal of RICHARD MACKAY from action of the Board of Education of the Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Central School District regarding the salary of the Superintendent of Schools.

Decision No. 14,424

(August 4, 2000)

Hogan & Sarzynski, LLP, attorneys for respondent, John B. Hogan, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Pursuant to "276.8(c) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, I hereby determine that Decision No. 14,391, dated June 16, 2000, must be reopened in the interests of justice to determine an issue that was inadvertently left unaddressed in that decision.

In the original appeal, respondents requested that I "certify that the Board of Education acted in good faith with respect to the exercise of their powers." I dismissed the original appeal based upon significant procedural defects (i.e., petitioner failed to join a necessary party and failed to serve the petition upon an authorized person), without addressing the merits of the appeal.

I find, upon the record before me, that respondent board acted in good faith in the discharge of its duties. In the time between the board’s submission of its 1999-2000 "Superintendent Salary Disclosure Statement" and its vote to increase the superintendent’s salary, two significant intervening events occurred. First, the composition of the board was altered by the addition of two new board members, and second, newly hired school superintendents in neighboring districts were awarded salaries considerably higher than the salary projected for respondent’s superintendent. There is no evidence in the record that respondent board acted in willful or reckless disregard of the law. Accordingly, I hereby certify that respondent board acted in good faith with respect to the exercise of its powers as related to this proceeding (Reopening of Appeal of Rampello, 37 Ed Dept Rep 176, Decision No. 13,834).

IT IS ORDERED that Decision No. 14,391 is reopened and modified to the extent indicated above.