Baron to appeal lower court ruling

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Robert Baron, the longtime head coach of the girls’ varsity basketball team.

NEW SCOTLAND — True to his word, former Voorheesville varsity girls’ basketball coach Robert Baron has filed an appeal, seeking to overturn a lower court’s decision in his lawsuit against the Voorheesville Central School District. 
The case was tossed in late March, three years and three weeks after it was first filed, in March 2018.

Superintendent Frank Macri in an emailed statement to The Enterprise said, “We are monitoring the case but don’t have further comment at this time.”

Reached for comment, Baron’s lawyer, Harold Gordon, said, “I can tell you that we obviously are looking for the decision to be reversed.” Gordon then referred The Enterprise to an earlier comment about O’Connor’s decision. 

“We were extremely shocked and surprised at Judge [Kimberly] O’Connor’s decision,” Gordon said in early April. “I would venture the opinion that in their heart of hearts the district and the union were equally surprised. On behalf of Mr. Baron, we respectfully disagree with the conclusions reached by Judge O’Connor and it is quite likely that Mr. Baron will be appealing.”

Baron initially filed the suit alleging the district fraudulently induced him to resign as the longtime head coach. The suit sought Baron’s reinstatement as coach as well as payment for lost wages and damage to his reputation.

Baron’s April 28 informational statement filed with the Third Judicial Department of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Courts says he is looking to appeal “every portion of the Decision and Order” handed down by Judge Kimberly O'Connor on March 28.

The statement goes on to list 14 issues Baron plans to raise on appeal over half of which deal with whether or not Baron was a member of the Voorheesville Teachers’ Association and issues stemming from the representation he should have had if he had been a member of the teachers’ union.

Baron sought a declaration from O’Connor that he was covered by the collective-bargaining agreement between the school district and the Voorheesville Teachers’ Association, which along with New York State United Teachers were also named in the March 2018 suit, entitling him to representation from the union and making him subject to the grievance procedures in the collective-bargaining agreement.

But the union, O’Connor wrote in her decision, was able to prove Baron had never been a member of the Voorheesville Teachers’ Association, had never paid union dues or agency fees, and had never sought assistance from the Voorheesville Teachers’ Association prior to resigning as coach.

Additionally, Voorheesville was able to produce a list, created during negotiations between the union and school district, that described Baron “among other coaches, as a ‘non-VTA’ member,” according to O’Connor.



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