Thursday, July 22, 2010
In The New York City 3020-a Process The DOE Has The Home Field Advantage.
I have always maintained that the only time the teacher's side of a story in a disciplinary hearing will be heard in front of an independent hearing officer is at his or her 30o20-a hearing. The Arbitrator, paid by New York State, is appointed by both the DOE and the UFT for a one year period. Therefore, the Arbitrator is mindful that either side can remove the Arbitrator at the end of the one year contract. While the Arbitrator is usually well qualified and independent there is pressure for the Arbitrator to satisfy the two sides and "split the baby" when determining the "award" against the teacher. I have previously written about the 3020-a procedure Here, Here, Here, and Here. However, one item I or others have never brought out is unlike the New York State 3020-a process, the DOE enjoys a "home field advantage' since the New York City 3020-a hearings are held at the DOE's Office Of Legal Services building. This means that the DOE lawyers can call for a recess and make quick calls or get papers from their office while the teacher's attorney cannot do that. Furthermore, the Arbitrators are at the mercy of the DOE lawyers when it comes to access of materials that are only readily available to the DOE lawyers.
Yes, the Arbitrators will try to come up with a "fair" decision but it is like the Kansas City Royals playing all their games against the New York Yankees at "Yankee Stadium". How many of those games do you think Kansas City will win at Yankee Stadium? Not too many. Consequently, the DOE has a "home field advantage" against the teacher since the 3020-a hearings are being held at their own building.