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Saturday, August 18, 2012

MAUREEN CASTRIOTTA VS. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF ROXBURY, MORRIS COUNTY A-5222-10T3


MAUREEN CASTRIOTTA VS. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF
ROXBURY, MORRIS COUNTY A-5222-10T3
Petitioner, an elected member of the Roxbury Board of Education, was censured by her fellow Board members for conduct that allegedly undermined the orderly administration of the school district. On petitioner's appeal, the Acting Commissioner of Education found the Board did not have the power to review and sanction a fellow member. Despite finding in petitioner's favor, the Commissioner denied her request for indemnification, under N.J.S.A. 18A:12-20, for legal fees and costs she incurred in connection with defending herself against the censure resolution adopted by the Board. In reaching this conclusion, the Commissioner found the disciplinary proceeding initiated by the Board against petitioner was not a "legal proceeding" under N.J.S.A. 18A:12-20.
We reversed. When the Board decided that petitioner had committed an ethical infraction warranting the sanction of censure, it was performing an adjudicatory act and functioning in a quasi-judicial capacity. This process constituted a "legal proceeding" under N.J.S.A. 18A:12-20.   08-09-12