State News Roundup

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New York State's attorney general has filed suit against a former superintendent of a regional school administrative unit and his district board in an attempt to recoup "hundreds of thousands of dollars'' the superintendent received when he retired last October.

Attorney General Robert Abrams seeks in the suit, filed late last month in state supreme court in Suffolk County, to have nullified the contract between Superintendent Robert J. Murphy and the Board of Cooperative Educational Services for Suffolk County.

Mr. Abrams charges that the board overstepped its authority in tendering the contract, which enabled Mr. Murphy to collect some $963,000 in benefits. Most of the money came from a payout of accumulated sick and vacation leave.

According to the attorney general, the contract also violates policies of the state education department, which he says was Mr. Murphy's true employer.

"The Murphy case represents an astonishing example of greed run amok,'' Mr. Abrams said. "The excesses of the contract . . . defy common decency, public policy, and the law.''

Mr. Murphy's lawyer has defended the legality of the contract.

The education department has also instituted administrative proceedings against Mr. Murphy to recover some of the money.

The Vermont Supreme Court has upheld the Vermont Headmasters Association's "redshirt'' rule for interscholastic athletics.

The ruling came in a suit filed by Jake Lilly, 18, who the association had declared ineligible to participate in interscholastic sports this season because he spent the 1991-92 school year as an exchange student in Finland, where he attended school and played hockey.

Under the V.H.A.'s rule, students who have completed four years or eight consecutive semesters of school are not eligible to participate in extracurricular activities.

Mr. Lilly, a senior at Brattleboro Union High School, chose not to receive academic credit for the school year in Finland. He argued in appealing the decision that his year abroad should not count against his eligibility to play hockey. When his appeal to the association failed, he filed suit in state court.

Last December, a county judge issued an injunction stating that Mr. Lilly should be allowed to participate because the V.H.A. misinterpreted its own rule.

The next day, the state supreme court issued a temporary stay of that injunction; the stay was made permanent by the most recent decision.

The high court ruled that the V.H.A. is entitled to interpret its own rules in accord with its mandate to regulate interscholastic athletics.

No appeal is expected.

Vol. 12, Issue 21

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