An administrative law judge has denied Allen Dyer's request to block his removal from the Howard County school board, setting in motion proceedings that would have Dyer defending his seat next year as he runs for re-election.
The Howard school board passed a resolution June 9 to request that the Maryland State Board of Education remove Dyer, citing his repeated filing of lawsuits against the board and accusing him of, among other things, violating confidentiality agreements and bullying board members. The case was transferred to the Office of Administrative Hearings on July 13, and Dyer filed a motion to dismiss the case.
Administrative Judge Douglas Koteen heard Dyer's motion a month ago. Dyer's lawyer, Harold Burns, argued that the complaint against Dyer has no merit because it does not give details or evidence to support the charges against him.
Burns also argued that the board included charges in its filing document that were not outlined in the resolution.
In his decision issued Wednesday, Koteen said that a June 24 letter from the local school board that was sent to Dyer and the state board provided additional information regarding its removal request. He said the letter included the meaning of the charge of misconduct in office and examples of alleged violations.
"Although the charges do not provide the date, time or place of the alleged violations," Koteen said, "they do provide facts that place the Respondent on notice of the actions on which the County Board relies in seeking his removal from that board."
Koteen also said that the resolution "contains no language limiting the content of the letter requesting removal."
Burns repeated his statements Thursday about Koteen's ruling.
"I am mystified how we find out what the charges are," Burns said. "There is no adequate discovery in the [Office of Administrative Hearings]. Not that it's our job anyway. It shouldn't be the defendant's job to weasel out of the prosecuting party what the charges are."
Judith Bresler, the attorney representing the school board, said, "I think it benefits everyone to have the matter go forward and be heard on its merits. That's what this decision will permit."
The denial of the dismissal request means that the case will go forward with motions, exhibits, discoveries and other legal matters slated to begin this month. Koteen has scheduled five days of hearings to begin May 7.
Koteen also denied Wednesday a motion to intervene by Cindy Vaillancourt, one of two board members who voted against the resolution to remove Dyer.