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East Ventura County Focus

MOORPARK : Union to Appeal Coach's Ouster

September 01, 1993|JAMES MAIELLA JR.

Moorpark High School Principal Cary Dritz has rejected a former softball coach's appeal to get his job back, prompting a vow from the teachers' union to take the matter to district Supt. Thomas Duffy.

Moorpark Educators Assn. President Richard Gillis said that the union and Larry McDermott, who was ousted as girls' varsity softball coach in June, will appeal Dritz's rejection of the grievance this week in a bid to get McDermott his coaching job back.

After coaching the softball team for the past eight years--and in 1992 leading it to the best finish of any Moorpark High team ever, in any sport--McDermott was told on the last day of school that he was being replaced as coach.

McDermott, a high school social studies teacher since 1969 and former union president, said Dritz called him into his office and ordered him to resign because of unfavorable evaluations from some of his players. When he refused, McDermott said, Dritz fired him as coach. McDermott will continue as a teacher at the school.

The union and teacher objected to the dismissal by filing a formal grievance. Under district policy, Dritz was obligated earlier this month to meet with McDermott and a union representative to discuss the issue.

"The district position is that coaches are a temporary position, period, end of story," said Gillis, who attended the meeting.

"It's our position that these people, in a reasonable world and in a reasonable system, are due some kind of a due process. When somebody decides to let you go, you're given some kind of a reason, and before they let you go you're told that there are areas in need of improvement and you're given an opportunity to improve," Gillis said.

The matter will now move on to Duffy for consideration. If the union and McDermott are unsatisfied with his response, they can appeal the decision to a state mediator, Gillis said.

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