EMPLOYMENT – HAZARDOUS DUTY: BOARD OF TRUSTEES V. DOSSETT (COA 9/28/2007)

BOARD OF TRUSTEES V. DOSSETT
EMPLOYMENT LAW:  Non-hazardous duty

2006-CA-002352
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
PANEL: LAMBERT PRESIDING; TYALOR, WINE CONCUR
COUNTY: FRANKLIN
DATE RENDERED: 09/28/2007

Board of Trustees appeals the TC’s finding that no substantial evidence existed to support the Board’s determination at its administrative hearing that Dossett’s four-month employment period as a police recruit in 1976-77 constituted nonhazardous-duty service. Dossett was seeking to purchase service credit toward his pension and the Board said he could only do so at the substantially more expensive hazardous-duty service rate.

The COA began by noting that it will not overturn a state agency’s administrative decision unless the agency has acted arbitrarily, acted outside the scope of its authority, applied an incorrect legal standard, or if the decision is not supported by substantial evidence. The COA highlighted the uncontroverted testimonial evidence of the Board’s own employees at the administrative hearing that revealed the hazardous-duty service classification was simply a clerical error made in Dossett’s file and that none of the other hundreds of officers had their recruitment period classified as such for purposes of purchasing pension credit. The COA concluded that Dossett was the victim of a simple clerical error and could not reasonably have been expected to discover this on his own prior to the proceedings. The COA therefore affirmed the TC’s decision in this matter.

Digested by James R. Chadword Kessinger
Schiller, Osbourn, Barnes & Maloney

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