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City School District. But she must have been ready for a rough ride through the “City of Hills,” after her predecessor was arrested for “defrauding money from the school district by running no show routes using a transportation company that was fronted by another former director of transportation.”

Although O’Riley was appointed as a temporary director for the 2015-2016 school

year, she set out to do the job right and make positive changes. Following a heavy January snow, superintendant Dr. Edwin Quezada wrote a letter thanking O’Riley for “driving around the City of Yonkers on Sunday and Monday in the pre-dawn hours,” to ensure the safety of routes and the timeliness of buses. After a full school year in the director position, O’Riley scored high on a civil

Smallville Independent School District *011068*


service exam, and was offered the permanent position in March 2017, pending an official probation period that expired at the end of October. When she was suddenly fired just before her probation would have ended, O’Riley figured it had something to do with the tough calls she had made in Yonkers. “She is a stickler for obeying the law and she reads everything,” said her attorney,

Ron Dunn of the Albany, New York firm of Gleason & Dunn. “She is a stickler for that and that caused the problems.” According to her lawsuit, O’Riley “took effective steps to address the theft of services

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and excessive absenteeism by school district bus monitors, and installed procedures to ensure for the first time bus monitors received the initial and annual refresher training required by New York State law.”

When O’Riley mandated monitor training, Lionel Turner, then-union president of the Civil Service Employees Association of New York, was reported to have launched a

U.S. Supreme Court Confirms Age Discrimination Employment Act Protections For All Political Subdivisions

From the New York City School District with its $35 billion budget and 995,192

students, to rural Wyoming’s Sheridan County School District and its single-teacher schools, all state employers are protected by the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA), regardless of school size. Where some courts previously applied the ADEA only to state agencies with 20 or

more employees—the standard held for private employers—the U.S. Supreme Court clarified in November that the ADEA covers all political subdivisions. MIT Media Lab project Data USA estimates that the median age of American bus

drivers is 52 years old. The EEOC reported that in 2017, about 44 percent of the workforce was older than 45 years old, with 6 percent older than 65. Not surprising- ly, the EEOC received about 18,000 charges of age discrimination last year—about 21 percent of its annual total. The original lawsuit, Mount Lemmon Fire District v. John Guido and Dennis

Josh Rice

Dir. of Transportation New Caney ISD, TX 512.686.2360 26 School Transportation News • JANUARY 2019

Rankin, involved two firefighters who lost their jobs in 2009. But their attorney, Don Awerkamp of the Tucson firm, Awerkamp, Bonilla, & Giles, maintained that school transportation districts also fall under the protection. “If they are a government enti- ty, they would then be covered by the ADEA,” Awerkamp said. The controversy began when John Guido and Dennis Rankin were first hired by the Mount Lemmon Fire District in 2000. According to legal documents, by the time they were laid off in 2009, “the two men had risen from the rank of Firefighter EMT to Captain. They were among the most accomplished employees in the Fire District: Mr. Rankin had been employed as a firefighter and arson investigator since 1973, while Mr. Guido was a former officer in the Arizona National Guard, a certified Senior Fire Inspector, and one of the Fire District’s two certified paramedics.”

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