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Former Catskill HS Principal sues to get job back

Nov 23, 2010 9:10 am

CATSKILL - Ariel Zangla-Girard of the Daily Freeman reports this morning that former Catskill High School principal William Ball IV is seeking reinstatement to his position, arguing that the abolishment of his tenure area was done in bad faith and as a pretext for his termination.

Ball, of Saugerties, filed a lawsuit last month in state Supreme Court in Greene County seeking reinstatement and back wages. The suit names the Catskill Central School District, its board of education and district Superintendent Kathleen Farrell as defendants.

A. Andre Dalbec, an attorney with the School Administrators Association of New York State, said his client was given tenure by the Catskill school district and then terminated despite there being no disciplinary actions against him that would result in his firing. He said the school district got rid of Ball by abolishing his tenure area and then laying him off, which was done in bad faith.

“What we’re seeking is reinstatement,” Dalbec said Friday. He said the lawsuit is currently pending before state Supreme Court Justice Joseph Teresi. Dalbec said the school district’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the suit, but he expects the motion to be dismissed and for the district to be required to answer Ball’s petition.

According to the petition, Ball has been a licensed public school educator since 1991 and became high school principal in Catskill on June 14, 2006. He earned tenure on Jan. 25, 2007, and was regularly evaluated and earned a stellar work history, the suit states. It also said Ball served as president of the Catskill Administrators Association from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010.

Dalbec said looking at the timeline of events leading to Ball’s termination, it shows the district wanted him gone despite the fact he had done great work. He added that getting tenure as an administrator is difficult and it would be difficult for Ball to find another job in the current economy.

In the petition, Ball said the Board of Education and Farrell were retaliating against him for his duties with the Catskill Administrators Association and that they had recruited his subordinates to concoct disciplinary charges “from mere personnel matters knowing that the allegations would not rise to termination.” He also argued the defendants knew the disciplinary charges would irreparably damage him in hopes he would voluntarily resign, the petition states. It also states the abolishment of Ball’s tenure area was in bad faith and that he was not the least senior employee in that tenure area.

“The district is aware of all pending legal actions and will respond appropriately to all such actions,” Farrell said.

When Ball was let go last February, the Catskill Daily Mail reported that the reasons were listed as private, without much elaboration.