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Decision No. 14,859

Appeal of RONA S. KLOPMAN from action of the Board of Education of the Amagansett Union Free School District regarding a district election.


Decision No. 14,859


(April 16, 2003)


Ingerman Smith, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Neil M. Block, Esq., of counsel 

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the election of members of the Board of Education of the Amagansett Union Free School District ("respondent") on May 21, 2002.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner was an unsuccessful candidate in the May 21, 2002 school board election.  Four candidates ran for three seats.  The final vote was: Rick Slater 205, Mary Lownes 158, Mark Davis 157 and Rona Klopman 153.  This appeal ensued.

Petitioner alleges that respondent"s district clerk made several errors in processing absentee ballots and that these errors affected the outcome of the election. Petitioner seeks an investigation of the election and an invalidation of the results.

Respondent contends that the appeal must be dismissed for failure to join the successful candidates as parties.  Respondent further asserts that the election was conducted properly and that petitioner has failed to show that any alleged irregularity affected the outcome.

An appeal to the Commissioner under Education Law "310 is appellate in nature and does not provide for investigations (Appeal of Combier, 42 Ed Dept Rep ___, Decision No. 14,831; Appeal of Brannon, 42 id. ___, Decision No. 14,830).  Thus, petitioner"s request for an investigation of the election must be denied.

To the extent petitioner seeks to overturn the election results, the appeal 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 petitioner is a necessary party and must be joined as such (Appeal of Brannon, supra; Appeal of Laskas-Gillespie, 40 Ed Dept Rep 568, Decision No. 14,559).  The rights of the three winning candidates would clearly be affected if I granted petitioner"s request for a new election.  Petitioner did not name these individuals as respondents in the caption of the petition or in the notice of petition, nor did she personally serve them with copies of the petition.  The appeal must, therefore, be dismissed for failure to join necessary parties.

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