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Appellate Court To Trustees: 'Reverse and Remand' Lawrence Decision

October 30, 2013 by admin

By Joe Malanaphy

     On May 4, 2012, the Board of Trustees at Brookdale met in a closed session and decided to terminate athletic director Frank Lawrence after stating that Lawrence violated the school’s “code of ethics” policy regarding cash management procedures while working the 2011 Shore Conference Tournament. Lawrence had been paid $200 cash for his services as site director.
     According to a 2011 audit by Suplee, Clooney and Company, “the college has no formal written cash management plan. A cash management plan would detail policies and procedures for all aspects of handling and investing the College’s cash flow.”
     The board’s decision to terminate went against a recommendation to reinstate Lawrence from Administrative Law Judge Donald Stein.
     As this saga continues, there is yet another twist, as the Appellate Division of the NJ Superior Court issued a ruling on Wednesday Oct. 16, to reverse the trustees’ 2012 decision.
     Touching on the recent Appellate Court ruling to reverse and remand the board’s 2012 decision, Lawrence said “what they’re saying is, you came to a decision on this, based on a lack of evidence. You didn’t look at all the evidence when you made your decision and ignored evidence that was factual and you have to take those things into condsideration when you make your decision, so they basically have to start all over and actually look at the evidence now.”
     “They’re saying that this decision, to anybody’s sense of fairness is shocking,” and “they are pretty clearly stating that this was beyond unfair,” said Lawrence.
     Jack Ryan, a professor at the college also spoke on the matter at a recent Governance Forum on Oct. 29. In a letter sent to the Stall regarding the same matter, Ryan said “When Dr. Murphy sent a missive to the college on October 16, 2013, it read in part, “The court has remanded the case to the Board of Trustees . . .” A more informative version for the college community might include these two omitted words that preceded “remanded” in the court decision, “reversed and.” These types of omissions led me to uncovering the very depths of the injustice in Frank Lawrence’s case. The college claimed many things that were patently false, all of which could have been resolved with a 20 minute meeting with someone that had 33 years of experience running the Shore Conference Tournament, me. Thus, it would have saved hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ money.”
     Judges Parrillo and Messano, writing for the Court stated that “we conclude that the matter must be remanded to the board for further consideration of the appropriate discipline to be imposed upon Lawrence. In this regard, the board must consider all the evidence adduced before the ALJ, conduct a full analysis and render a complete explanation of its decision.”
     Lawrence, who was terminated in 2012, was placed on unpaid leave in 2011. Since that time, Lawrence, his immediate supervisor, or Jack Ryan, who served various roles in the athletic department over 30 years time, including A.D., have not been interviewed on the matter.

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