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.


Anonymous said...

As someone who is going through the process, I do not know how much advantage the Dept enjoys from playing in the home field. I am sure the biggest advantage the Dept has is the weakness of teachers themselves. So many of us surrendered even before the battle gets started and before the home field issue is into the play.
If more of teachers stand up and demand trials, Doe would not be able to get away with the most of their nonsense.
In a cruel way, every victim deserves to be a victim because he or she allowed the abuses to occur, and the abusers are certainly fully aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I think Chaz knows DOE has plenty of advantages and location is just one. Here on Long Island the hearings can take place at a NYSUT field office, schoool disrict layer office, or district conference room. At a DOE building I would imagine helpful informants and experts can be stashed in back rooms, discussions between teachers and NYSUT attorneys can be overheard, computers can be readily consulted, photocopies easily made, etc etc.
Like you, I am going thru the process and agree that teachers get scared into settlements: the reassignments are odious, the charges sound serious, the terrain is unfamiliar, the process is unfamiliar, the lawyers and arbitrator want a settlement,...I can hardly blame the shortsighted teachers who jump to sign an unfavorable settlement.

Chaz said...

I believe that all 3020-a hearings should be held at a neutral site. Like a library room, a corporation office, etc.

Anonymous said...

There are many things, if not most, outside the control of teachers in 3020a proceeding, but one thing which is clearly in the hands of teachers is not to be overwhelmed by the fear and to demand a trial when he or she feels being wronged. By giving up the most basic right and the only forum en masse, there is little benefit to nip on the edge issues like location or transcript.
It is my view that a person's true ability can only be measured by the challenges of setbacks and adversities, and only person can ultimately advocate for you is yourself.

Philip Nobile said...

All advantage goes to DOE. Not the least of which is an inferior adversary, that is, the UFT which fails to defend members during investigations or play legal hardball with testilying DOE witnesses at hearings.

When I asked my NYSUT lawyer if she would pursue the inevitable false witnesses at my upcoming hearing, she said politely but dismissively that she was not a criminal lawyer. I asked if she was aware of any perjury complaint ever pursued by NYSUT, she said no.

If the UFT were Zola, Dreyfus would still be on Devil's Island.

Anonymous said...


When you are sitting through a pathetic mockery of a quasi-legal administrative procedure, the system has every advantage.

You have a corrupt and gamed "hearing" that is as valid as the hearings the DoE held for the school closings.

This is just an illusion to protect themselves from being charged with denial of due process.

In fact, this is far worse than denial of your constitutional rights.

This is evocative of the Nazi show trials.

In a hearing where triple level hearsay is admitted and the so- called "neutral" arbitrator is dancing to the beat of the DoE's administrative trials unit, you have a farce and a cruel joke.

The entire process is to the advantage of the DoE. There is nothing fair about this. As the victim of this Kafkaesque abortion, you are being railroaded.

Every timing aspect of the 3020-a law is completely ignored. This makes every case that has been delayed a procedurally flawed one.

All 3020-a procedures that did not comport with the statutory time limitation should be overturned.

The time violations, as flagrant as they are, are infinitesimal compared with the outright corruption and conflict of interest that are part and parcel of this nightmare.

The physical location is really indicative of how screwed up the entire charade actually is.

Know this, the actual decision that might take 6 months instead of 30 days as prescribed by law, will only repeat the allegations made by the prosecution. The $1800--for-five-hours-of-listening-to-why-a-teacher-is-a-piece-of- garbage/crook/lawyer/arbitrator, will not formulate any opinions other than parroting the lies flung at you by the bottom- feeding DoE liar/lawyer.

If you think that for one minute there is anything fair or resembling fair about this abortion, then you would have to be delusional.

Just grab your ankles and hope for the best, because, here comes the drill.

Cordially Yours,

Angry Nog

Anonymous said...

It will be totally ignorant not to see the advantages DOE has in every aspect of the 3020a proceedings, which are designed to make teachers look bad. It is pretty obvious that there are some value to the teachers to pursue trials just by the fact that the trials are something DOE is reluctant to give in most cases.