Posts tagged "Vocational"

Superintendent-Director of Assabet Valley Regional Vocational School District v. Speicher (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-159-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC-11563   SUPERINTENDENT-DIRECTOR OF ASSABET VALLEY REGIONAL VOCATIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT  vs.  ANN MARIE SPEICHER. Suffolk.     May 5, 2014. – September 11, 2014.   Present:  Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ. Arbitration, Authority of arbitrator, Judicial review, Award, School committee.  Education Reform Act.  Statute, Construction.  School and School Committee, Arbitration, Suspension from employment.  Public Employment, Suspension.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on May 18, 2011.   The case was heard by Paul E. Troy, J., on motions for judgment on the pleadings.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Tim D. Norris for the plaintiff. Sheilah F. McCarthy for the defendant. Will Evans & Quesiyah S. Ali, for Massachusetts Teachers Association, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     SPINA, J.  In this case we are asked to decide whether an arbitrator exceeded his authority by reviewing the merits of a twenty-day suspension of a school librarian having professional teacher status.  The librarian had been suspended for “conduct unbecoming” the librarian, pursuant to G. L. c. 71, § 42D.  The arbitrator applied a just cause standard of review and overturned the suspension on the ground that the school district failed to meet its burden of proof.  The school district filed an action to vacate the arbitrator’s award under G. L. c. 150C, § 11, and for declaratory relief under G. L. c. 231A.  A judge in the Superior Court denied the school district’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, and allowed the librarian’s cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings, thereby confirming the arbitrator’s award.  The school district appealed, and we transferred the case from the Appeals Court on our own motion.  We hold that the arbitrator did not exceed his authority by reviewing the merits of the suspension.  We further hold that the proper standard of review is whether the district sustained its burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence the particular reason cited for the suspension.  We affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.[1] 1.  Background.  The librarian, Ann Marie Speicher, had been employed as a school librarian for at least three consecutive school years by the Assabet Valley Regional School District (district) as of October 29, 2009.  As such, she was considered a “teacher” under G. L. c. 71, § 41, and entitled to professional teacher status under […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 11, 2014 at 8:16 pm

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