On appeal from the State Board of Education, #3-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges S.L. Reisner, Seltzer and C.L. Miniman.
Petitioner Angelo Raimondi (Raimondi) appeals from a decision of the State Board of Education (State Board) affirming a decision by the Acting Commissioner of Education (Commissioner) to dismiss Raimondi's petition claiming that the Westwood Regional Board of Education (Westwood Board) violated the school laws when it entered into an interlocal services agreement with the Board of Education of the Vocational Schools in the County of Bergen (Vocational Board) for the services of a business administrator. Petitioner also appeals the dismissal of his claim under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 to -14. We affirm.
Raimondi petitioned the Commissioner on May 11, 2004, seeking a ruling that would require the Westwood Board to comply with N.J.S.A. 18A:17-24.1(a) with respect to the interlocal services agreement.*fn1 The matter was referred to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for an initial decision. The parties agreed to submit cross-motions for summary decision based upon a joint stipulation of facts. The following facts are taken from that joint stipulation.
Raimondi was employed by the Westwood Board as the Board Secretary and Business Administrator from September 1983 until June 30, 2004. Raimondi possessed a school business administrator certificate, which was a requirement for the position of Business Administrator, and acquired tenure in that position.
On April 8, 2004, Raimondi submitted a letter of resignation to the Westwood Board. He wrote:
I am hereby submitting my letter of resignation, for the purpose of retirement, effective with the end of my contract as Business Administrator/Board Secretary for the 2003-04 school year. I am constrained to take this action due to your pending decision to enter into an inter-local services agreement to share the services of the Business Administrator with the Bergen County Vocational and Technical School District. However, should you decide not to enter into the agreement my decision to retire is to be considered rescinded.
I have 270 sick days in my bank. I expect to receive pay for unused sick leave pursuant to Section 10 of my contract.
Petitioner's resignation was accepted by the Westwood Board that same day, effective July 1, 2004.
Also on April 8, 2004, the Westwood Board passed a resolution effective July 1, 2004, approving an interlocal services agreement with the Vocational Board. This resolution stated:
WHEREAS, the Westwood Regional Board of Education is desirous of effectuating economies and achieving cost savings to improve the financial condition of the Westwood Regional School District;
WHEREAS, economies could be effectuated and cost savings can be achieved by entering into an interlocal services agreement with the Board of Education of the Vocational Schools in the County of Bergen for the services of a school business administrator; and
WHEREAS, an interlocal services agreement has been negotiated with the Board of Education of the Vocational Schools in the County of Bergen for the services of a school business administrator;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Westwood Regional Board of Education hereby approves the interlocal services agreement with the Board of Education of the Vocational Schools in the County of Bergen for the services of a school business administrator for the period beginning July 1, 2004 and ending June 30, 2006;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Westwood Regional Board of Education authorizes the Board President and the Superintendent of Schools to sign the interlocal services agreement on behalf of the Westwood Regional Board of Education;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, effective July 1, 2004, the Westwood Regional Board of Education abolishes the position of board secretary/business administrator ...