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Decision No. 15,029

Appeal of DONETTE C. DARROW from action of Steven Achramovitch, Superintendent of Schools of the Kenmore-Tonawanda Union Free School District, regarding an election.



(February 17, 2004)


Norton/Radin/Hoover/Freedman, attorneys for respondent, Bernard B. Freedman, Esq., of counsel


MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the actions of the superintendent of schools of the Kenmore-Tonawanda Union Free School District ("respondent") with respect to the district"s June 3, 2003 school board election.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner was an unsuccessful candidate in the June election.  By letter dated June 30, 2003, petitioner asked the district"s board of education to formally investigate the election.  In response, the board of education asked counsel to the local Board of Cooperative Educational Services to investigate.  At the time this appeal was commenced, the investigation was ongoing.

Although it is not clear, petitioner appears to claim that respondent has neglected his duty because the investigation has not been completed and no action has been taken.  Petitioner also appears to contend that the other candidates, the Kenmore Teachers Association and certain unnamed employees engaged in improper electioneering that allegedly influenced the outcome of the election.        

Respondent maintains that the petition should be dismissed because, among other things, petitioner failed to exhaust her administrative remedies, failed to join necessary parties and the petition is untimely.  Respondent further asserts that he was not aware of any intentional violation of the law regarding the election and that petitioner fails to demonstrate any violation sufficient to overturn the election.  

The appeal must be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.  A petition must 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" (8 NYCRR "275.10).  Where petitioner is not represented by counsel, a liberal interpretation of this regulation is appropriate absent prejudice to the opposing party (Appeal of World Network Int"l Services, Inc., 38 Ed Dept Rep 800, Decision No. 14,146; Appeal of Screen, 36 id. 302, Decision No. 13,731).  The petition in the instant appeal, consisting of letters and e-mails, does not comport with the format requirements contained within ""275.3(c) and 275.10 of the Commissioner"s regulations, fails to state a comprehensible claim and fails to identify the specific remedy sought by petitioner.  Accordingly, the petition is dismissed in its entirety (Appeal of Stephen and Roseanne W., 39 Ed Dept Rep 808, Decision No. 14,388; Appeal of Lawson, 33 id. 427, Decision No. 13,102; Application of a Child with a Handicapping Condition, 31 id. 65, Decision No. 12,570).

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