Justice Geoffrey Wright

Special education teacher Salz sought to vacate an award by Hearing Officer Berg issued after a hearing on disciplinary charges preferred against her by New York City’s Department of Education. Berg concluded Salz was guilty of incompetency for failing to execute effective lesson plans and manage classroom behavior. Salz argued Berg’s award was irrational, given the “subjective nature of the evidence.” The court noted Berg issued a 28-page opinion and award finding the city met its burden regarding providing Salz with sufficient training and support to correct performance deficiencies. It stated the termination decision was neither arbitrary nor shocking to the conscience, finding each of the sustained specifications well supported by documentary evidence and witness testimony. The court also found Berg consistently gave references and analysis to testimony and evidence, providing detailed explanations for sustaining or dismissing specifications. It further concluded there was no evidence of a denial of Salz’s due process, ruling Berg considered testimony, objections and evidence of both sides and evaluated Salz’s and the city’s credibility. Salz’s motion to vacate Berg’s award to terminate her was denied.