2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 18A - EDUCATION
Section 18A:12-29 - Complaint procedures.
18A:12-29 Complaint procedures.
9. a. Any person, including a member of the commission, may file a complaint alleging a violation of the provisions of this act or the Code of Ethics for School Board Members as set forth in section 5 of P.L.2001, c.178 (C.18A:12-24.1), by submitting it, on a form prescribed by the commission, to the commission. No complaint shall be accepted by the commission unless it has been signed under oath by the complainant. If a member of the commission submits the complaint, the member shall not participate in any subsequent proceedings on that complaint in the capacity of a commission member. If a commission member serves on the school board of, or is employed by, the school district which employs or on whose board the school official named in the complaint serves, the commission member shall not participate in any subsequent proceedings on that complaint.
b.Upon receipt of a complaint, the commission shall serve a copy of the complaint on each school official named therein and shall provide each named school official with the opportunity to submit a written statement under oath. The commission shall thereafter decide by majority vote whether probable cause exists to credit the allegations in the complaint. If the commission decides that probable cause does not exist, it shall dismiss the complaint and shall so notify the complainant and any school official named in the complaint. The dismissal shall constitute final agency action. If the commission determines that probable cause exists, it shall refer the matter to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing to be conducted in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), and shall so notify the complainant and each school official named in the complaint.
In making a determination regarding an alleged violation of the Code of Ethics for School Board Members, the burden of proof shall be on the accusing party to establish factually a violation of the code. A decision regarding a complaint alleging violations of the code shall be rendered by the commission within 90 days of the receipt of the complaint by the commission.
c.Upon completion of the hearing, the commission, by majority vote, shall determine whether the conduct complained of constitutes a violation of this act, or in the case of a board member, this act or the code of ethics, or whether the complaint should be dismissed. If a violation is found, the commission shall, by majority vote, recommend to the commissioner the reprimand, censure, suspension, or removal of the school official found to have violated this act, or in the case of a board member, this act or the code of ethics. The commission shall state in writing its findings of fact and conclusions of law. The commissioner shall then act on the commission's recommendation regarding the sanction.
d.Any appeal of the commission's determination regarding a violation of this act, or in the case of a board member, this act or the code of ethics, and of the commissioner's decision regarding the sanction shall be in accordance with the provisions of P.L.2008, c.36 (C.18A:6-9.1 et al.).
e.If prior to the hearing the commission determines, by majority vote, that the complaint is frivolous, the commission may impose on the complainant a fine not to exceed $500. The standard for determining whether a complaint is frivolous shall be the same as that provided in subsection b. of section 1 of P.L.1988, c.46 (C.2A:15-59.1).
f.Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections c. and d. of this section, the commission shall be authorized to determine and impose the appropriate sanction including reprimand, censure, suspension or removal of any school official found to have violated this act who is an officer or employee of the New Jersey School Boards Association. Any action of the commission regarding a violation of P.L.1991, c.393 (C.18A:12-21 et seq.) or the sanction to be imposed in the event that the school official involved is an officer or employee of the New Jersey School Boards Association shall be considered final agency action and an appeal of that action shall be directly to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
L.1991, c.393, s.9; amended 1995, c.14, s.4; 2001, c.178, s.4; 2008, c.36, s.5.
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