Posts tagged "Zagaeski"

School Committee of Lexington v. Zagaeski (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-125-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11536   SCHOOL COMMITTEE OF LEXINGTON  vs.  MARK ZAGAESKI. Middlesex.      March 4, 2014. – July 14, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ. Arbitration, Judicial review, Authority of arbitrator, Award, School committee.  Education Reform Act.  Statute, Construction. School and School Committee, Arbitration, Termination of employment.  Public Employment, Termination.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on April 27, 2012.   Motions to vacate and to affirm an arbitration award were heard by Bruce R. Henry, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Geoffrey R. Bok (Colby C. Brunt with him) for the plaintiff. Daniel S. O’Connor (Laura Elkayam with him) for the defendant. Stephen J. Finnegan & Michael J. Long, for Massachusetts Association of School Commitees, Inc. & another, amici curiae, submitted a brief.   Ira Fader for Massachusetts Teachers Association, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.          SPINA, J.  In this case, the plaintiff, the school committee of Lexington (school committee), appealed a decision by a Superior Court judge confirming an arbitrator’s award reinstating a teacher, Mark Zagaeski, after the school district superintendent had terminated his employment for conduct unbecoming a teacher.  We granted the plaintiff’s application for direct appellate review.  This case presents an issue left unresolved by this court in School Dist. of Beverly v. Geller, 435 Mass. 223 (2001).  We must determine the scope of authority granted to an arbitrator by G. L. c. 71, § 42 (teacher dismissal statute), to reinstate a teacher who was dismissed for conduct that the arbitrator found constituted, at least nominally, a valid basis for dismissal.[1] We conclude that in light of the stated purposes of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 (Reform Act or Act), of which the teacher dismissal statute is a part, the arbitrator exceeded the scope of his authority by awarding reinstatement of Zagaeski on the basis of the “best interests of the pupils” in the district, despite having found that the school district carried its burden to show facts amounting to conduct unbecoming a teacher.  See G. L. c. 69, § 1, as appearing in St. 1993, c. 71, § 27; G. L. c. 71, § 42.  We reverse the decision of the Superior Court judge and vacate the arbitration award.[2] 1.  Background.  a.  Facts.[3]  Zagaeski’s dismissal from his position at the Lexington public schools […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 14, 2014 at 3:53 pm

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