Hearing Officers in Alabama Education Legislation
On May 17, 2004, the Governor signed two important pieces of legislation enacted by the Alabama legislature which names the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services' (FMCS) Office of Arbitration Services as the resource for arbitrators to serve as hearing officers in disputes regarding teacher suspensions, transfers or contract cancellations (HB 42) and Alabama school employees regarding terminations, transfers, and suspensions (HB 43). This legislation covers nearly 92,000 school employees.
Arbitrators on the FMCS Roster who accept these cases must be able to meet the scheduling requirements stipulated under the legislation prior to accepting a case. The arbitrators must be knowledgeable of the legislation and their responsibilities under it if selected to serve as a hearing officer. Guidelines established by the state for arbitrators and the full text of the legislation are available through the links below or you may visit http://www.legislature.state.al.us/CodeofAlabama/1975/coatoc.htm for more background information regarding the legislation.
Alabama Department of Education
Administrative and Financial Services
SDE Accounting (5/07)
1. All non-negotiated expenses must be reasonable and necessary.
2. Every effort should be made to minimize travel and number of arbitration days.
3. Commercial airline travel must be claimed at the tourist/coach rate. If an arbitrator flies first class, the rate difference will be the responsibility of the arbitrator.
4. Reimbursement for rental cars will be at the mid-sized or compact rental rate.
5. Itemized statement of dates worked and work performed must be provided.
6. Legible copies of receipts for travel expenses must be provided.
7. Mileage will be paid at the usual and established arbitratorís rate, not to exceed the mileage rate allowed by the Internal Revenue Code for income tax deductions. (The current rate, effective January 1, 2007, is $.485 per mile.)
8. The arbitrator shall render a written decision, with findings of fact and conclusions of law, within 30 days after its hearing to the parties. A certified copy of the decision must be retained by the arbitrator for 30 days pending expiration of the appeal period.
9. An invoice, including all receipts for costs and itemized statement of dates worked and work performed, should accompany the copy of the written decision to the local education agency/ college.
10. Procedures have been established so that payment for services should be made within 30 days of submission to the local education agency/college (except during State closeout in September of each year). If a bill is unpaid 30 days after submission to the LEA/college, the arbitrator should contact Ms. Vera Guettler, Chief Accountant, Alabama Department of Education, Administrative and Financial Services, SDE Accounting, at (334) 242-9774 for resolution. Late fees shall be the responsibility of the local education agency/college.
11. The LEA/college is responsible for obtaining the service of a court reporter for the arbitrator hearing. The transcript must be obtained and mailed to the arbitrator within 5 days. Copies for the LEA/college and teacher/ employee will be made and distributed by the LEA/college. The transcript should be retained for 30 days pending expiration of the appeal period. If the case is not appealed, the transcript should be provided to the LEA/college. If the case is appealed and an appeal is granted, the transcript, along with the certified copy of the decision, must be transmitted to the clerk for the Court of Civil Appeals by the arbitrator.