KNIGHT v. BOARD OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES OF CATTARAUGUS ALLEGANY ERIE WYOMING COUNTIES

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, New York.

Matter of Kathryn KNIGHT, Petitioner-Appellant, v. BOARD OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES OF CATTARAUGUS-ALLEGANY-ERIE-WYOMING COUNTIES, Respondent-Respondent.

Decided: September 29, 2000

PRESENT:  GREEN, J.P., HAYES, WISNER, SCUDDER and LAWTON, JJ. David Rodriguez, Buffalo, for Petitioner-Appellant. Brian A. Birenbach, Buffalo, for Respondent-Respondent.

The determination of respondent terminating petitioner from her position as a certified occupational therapy assistant was based on several instances of misconduct by petitioner in abusing sick and personal leave in contravention of the employer-employee professional agreement and in submitting a false claim for reimbursement.   A high degree of deference is to be accorded to an agency's determination of the appropriate penalty to be imposed (see, Matter of Gillen v. Smithtown Lib. Bd. of Trustees, 254 A.D.2d 486, 679 N.Y.S.2d 634, affd. 94 N.Y.2d 776, 699 N.Y.S.2d 695, 721 N.E.2d 945), and it cannot be said here that the penalty of termination, when considered in light of all of the circumstances of this case, is so disproportionate to the offense as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness (see, Matter of Pell v. Board of Educ., 34 N.Y.2d 222, 233, 356 N.Y.S.2d 833, 313 N.E.2d 321;  Matter of Catalano v. Village of Kenmore, 255 A.D.2d 948, 680 N.Y.S.2d 375).

Judgment unanimously affirmed without costs.

MEMORANDUM: