Schenectady County

Retired Niskayuna bus driver suing two district staffers

The legal action filed last week by the Niskayuna Central School District challenging an arbitrator’

The legal action filed last week by the Niskayuna Central School District challenging an arbitrator’s ruling related to a former bus driver’s retiree health benefits was the second filed this year in the case.

The former bus driver, Michael Mareno, filed suit in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County in June, suing two district employees, alleging false arrest, defamation and other claims.

The district’s legal action was filed last week in the same court, asking a judge to overturn the ruling that upheld Mareno’s retiree health benefits.

The district charged Mareno lied on his time sheets, padding them with extra time.

During the summer of 2010, Mareno was accused of padding the time almost every day he worked. The district used bus video and GPS data to show he hadn’t worked the extra time. There were also allegations that Mareno followed a district transportation department employee twice to Albany.

Mareno was later charged with harassment, related to following the employee, and falsifying business records and petty larceny, related to the time sheets. He ultimately pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a violation.

The allegations of false arrest in Mareno’s suit pertain to those charges.

According to the original charging paperwork included in his filing, he was accused of receiving $209.97 he wasn’t entitled to.

Mareno said Thursday the allegations amounted to nine minutes a day, time he used for restroom stops.

Mareno retired effective Sept. 23, 2010, and began receiving a pension of $614.72 monthly based on 16.61 years of service, according to the state Comptroller’s Office.

The district’s disciplinary proceedings, though, continued with a hearing officer recommending his termination, according to the district’s action filed last week.

Named as defendants in Mareno’s suit are district employees John O’Donnell and Matthew Bourgeois. Bourgeois is the district’s assistant superintendent for business. O’Donnell was the employee Mareno was accused of following.

Mareno’s suit also alleges slander, libel, intentional infliction of emotional distress and malicious prosecution.

He is seeking $1 million in damages each for several of the claims.

The lawsuit remains pending.

A representative of the school district could not be reached for comment.

Mareno is represented by attorney Nicholas Grasso.

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply