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Scott v. Board of Trustees of Fremont County School District Number One

Supreme Court of Wyoming

September 18, 2015

BARRY SCOTT, Appellant (Petitioner),
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF FREMONT COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER ONE, Appellee (Respondent)

Appeal from the District Court of Fremont County. The Honorable Richard L. Lavery, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Vance T. Countryman, Vance T. Countryman, PC, Lander, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Tracy J. Copenhaver, Copenhaver, Kath, Kitchen & Kolpitcke, LLC, Powell, Wyoming.

Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, KITE[*], DAVIS, and FOX, JJ.

OPINION

Page 1138

BURKE, Chief Justice.

[¶1] Appellant, Barry Scott, challenges the district court's order affirming the decision of the Board of Trustees of Fremont County School District Number One to terminate Mr. Scott's employment. He contends that the Board's decision was untimely and, as a result, the Board lacked subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm.

ISSUE

[¶2] Mr. Scott presents one issue, which we reword as follows:

Did the Board lose subject matter jurisdiction over this matter when it failed to issue a decision within twenty days after receiving the Hearing Officer's Recommended Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, as required by the Board's rules of practice?

FACTS

[¶3] Mr. Scott had been employed for seven years as the school district's activities director. On October 23, 2013, he was arrested and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol.[1] He admitted to Superintendent Bowman that he had had too much to drink and should not have been driving. He later informed Superintendent Bowman that his blood-alcohol content had been measured at 0.26%, more than three times the legal limit.

[¶4] Mr. Scott had previously been convicted of driving under the influence. When that occurred in 2011, he was suspended without pay for three days, and warned that failure to comply with the law could result in further disciplinary action, including termination of his employment. After Mr. Scott was arrested again in 2013, Superintendent Bowman proposed to the Board that Mr. Scott's employment with the school district be terminated.

[¶5] In accordance with his employment contract and the Board's policies, Mr. Scott requested a hearing. The Board hired an attorney to act as the hearing officer, conduct the hearing, and submit proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a recommended decision. Following the hearing, the hearing officer submitted her recommendation to the Board. She concluded that the Superintendent's proposal was supported by substantial evidence and recommended termination of Mr. Scott's employment. The ...


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