Farewell, Old Friend

Joshua Javits (left) takes time out from firing teachers to present an award.

Recently I heard a rumor that Joshua Javits is no longer working as an arbitrator at the New York City Department of Education. All I can say to that is: great!

His tenure at the Administrative Trials Unit in the DOE has been marked by extreme prejudice against teachers. A DOE insider I respect has said that he “fires everyone”, regardless of the facts of the case or the charges brought.  Betsy Combier, who has sat in on more 3020a hearings than perhaps anyone, dubbed Javits as being one of those arbitrators who were “hired to fire”.

Very recently, I had the displeasure of reading one of Javits’ last decisions. This was a case of a teacher who I know and respect whose charges were absolutely bogus. I was not prepared for what I read. It was vitriolic, vicious and seemingly personal. He went through great lengths to describe the absolutely horrid nature of the teacher. In fact, the words in his decision were the exact words the DOE lawyer used during the hearing. All he did was paraphrase the DOE lawyer’s argument, while ignoring every counter-argument proffered by the defense.

What was most disturbing was that he gave absolutely zero grounds as to why he bought the DOE argument. He put forth no original reasoning and, most likely, no effort in constructing this decision. It was an incoherent tapestry of contradictions, deductive reasoning (the DOE says that the teacher is bad, therefore everything he did was bad.) and outright lies. It was a carbon copy of the DOE’s position.

His punishment, which I am not at liberty to discuss, was equally arbitrary. He spent pages on spewing venom about the teacher. Then, at the very last sentence, he reveals his punishment. Again, there were absolutely no grounds provided for this punishment. There was no “this teacher is so horrible and this horrible punishment I set forth is just for this reason.” He did not cite any precedents, previous cases or chancellor’s regulations. He merely rewrote the DOE’s argument and said “here is the punishment”, and that was it. It was completely arbitrary.

It is arbitrators like Javits that have caused real courts of law to overturn more DOE arbitrator rulings than ever. The fact that the courts are getting involved at all says all that needs to be said about the integrity of the 3020a procedure.

Joshua Javits has no integrity.

Does it matter to him that so many of his decisions get overturned by real judges with an eye for real evidence? Absolutely not. He just fires, fires, fires and lets the chips fall where they may. If his rulings get overturned, he does not care. He gets paid his $1,800 a day regardless. You would think the DOE would fire him due to all of the legal fees he has caused the DOE from all of his cantankerous rulings.

So where is Javits now?

Today, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order creating a Presidential Emergency Board to help resolve an ongoing dispute between major freight rail carriers and their unions.

That is right freight rail carriers of America, guess who is coming to dinner? The Montgomery Burns of arbitrators will have a hand in determining the future of your career. Just hope that he does not hate you as much as he hates educators. If he does, just hope that the other arbitrators on the board will outweigh whatever invective he throws your way.

Just remember:  Joshua Javits has no integrity.

I noticed something interesting about the Javits bio the White House put up:

Joshua M. Javitsis a neutral mediator and arbitrator and serves on numerous permanent arbitration panels.  He served on a Presidential Emergency Board in 2007. From 1993 to 2001, Mr. Javits was a Partner at Ford & Harrison LLP where he also served as executive director of the Labor Relations Association of Passenger Railroads. He was also an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center where he taught courses in labor arbitration, transportation labor law, and alternative dispute resolution. He was Chairman and Member of the National Mediation Board from 1988 to 1993.  He began his career as a trial attorney with the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Javits has represented both labor unions and management, at different times, and is on the rosters of the American Arbitration Association, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the National Mediation Board.  He has been rated “AV” – the highest rating – by Martindale Hubbell’s Best Lawyers in America since 2001.  Mr. Javits is a graduate of Yale College and Georgetown University Law Center.

It does not mention his time at the DOE. I mean, this was the job he left in order to be on this board. I suppose he is not too proud of his tenure there.

It is easy to have all of these accolades when you are the son of one of the most well-known New York Senators in history. One wonders why he never soared to the heights his father did. Could it be a lack of integrity that follows him like a foul odor throughout everything he does?

Joshua Javits has “represented labor” and served with the NLRB. He is a perfect fit for the era, since the American worker has steadily been losing ground over the past 35 years. We can see why if all NLRB attorneys have the same values and methodology of Joshua Javits.

At least he is gone from the DOE. Now they will have to find the next overpaid shill to fire teachers indiscriminately regardless of the facts. Javits sure got the job done for them, however.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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2 responses to “Farewell, Old Friend

  1. The UFT has to approve every arbitrator. What does this say about the UFT? There was a very close relationship between the UFT and Javits Sr. When he lost the Rep primary to D’Amato in 1980 he ran in the gen election and split the vote and kept Elizabeth Holtzman from winning. The UFT supported Javits in a hopeless cause but was happier with the anti-union D’Amato than the anti-war Holtzman.

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