By Sara Toth, firstname.lastname@example.org
8:25 AM EDT, May 15, 2012
Administrative hearings on removing Allen Dyer from his seat on the Howard County Board of Education are now set to last to the end of June.
At the Office of Administrative Hearings in Hunt Valley Monday, Administrative Law Judge Douglas Koteen set aside June 6, 7, 18, 28 and 29 to continue the proceedings.
Those five additional days double the length of time the hearings were scheduled to take. Hearings began last week, and were to conclude Wednesday, but have proceeded much slower than expected.
On Monday, Dyer, who is acting as his own attorney, began the cross-examination of board member Janet Siddiqui, who headed the board last June when members voted to ask the state board to remove Dyer from office.
Dyer asked Siddiqui several times, if any one thing was the reason she voted for his removal — a breach of confidentiality on an ethics complaint, for example, or his repeated legal actions. Siddiqui said it was myriad things that constituted a pattern of behavior board members and that school staff found to be rude, including the manner in which Dyer writes his emails with only lowercase letters.
"It's an accumulation," Siddiqui said. "That's why we passed that resolution. There could have been one single act, but there was a pattern."
Dyer, who was elected to the board in 2008, has a history of filing lawsuits against the board, accusing members of Open Meetings Act violations and destroying public records. His litigation and behavior drew the ire of the board majority who, in June 2011, voted to ask the state Board of Education remove him from his seat.
Current school board Chairwoman Sandra French and school system Purchasing Director Doug Pindell also testified Monday. Pindell's testimony lasted less than five minutes, when Koteen realized Pindell would be testifying about interactions with Dyer during the fall of 2011 — months after the Howard board passed its resolution, and out of the scope of testimony. Pindell was quickly dismissed.
When French took the stand, the board's attorney, Judith Bresler, had her go through several instances in which she felt Dyer acted against the Board of Education handbook. French, at times emotional, said many things contributed to her voting in approval of the June 2011 resolution, but the biggest reason was Dyer publishing details of an ethics complaint against him last year — after the case had already been leaked to the public.
"I felt it was time," French said. "We're all adults. We're all professionals. ... I was tired of having motives impugned or my actions or votes criticized as being wrong."
Dyer's cross-examination of French is scheduled to continue Tuesday.