Former state Education Commissioner David Steiner, in one of his last actions before leaving office this week, denied a request that the superintendent of the Westbury school district and four board members be removed.

The request was made last year by former board president Karin Campbell and Rocco Lanzilotta, a current board member.

Steiner, in a strongly worded decision dated June 8, said actions taken by Campbell and Lanzilotta "were a transparent attempt to subvert the will of district residents who voted three new board members into office and would have jeopardized the proper functioning of the board."

"I urge the duly elected board to . . . bring this turmoil to an end," he wrote.

Steiner announced in April that he would step down as education commissioner and return to his former post as dean of the Hunter College School of Education in Manhattan. John King, a former teacher and charter school leader, officially became education commissioner on Wednesday -- the first African-American to hold the job.

In the Westbury dispute, Campbell and Lanzilotta sought in August 2010 to remove board president Pless Dickerson and members Siela Bynoe, Rodney Caines and Leslie Davis, as well as the superintendent, Constance Clark-Snead. They also requested the reinstatement of Rod Bailey as a board member and nullification of all actions that the board took in early July 2010.

Westbury voters elected Bynoe, Caines and Davis last year, giving Dickerson a majority on the seven-member board. In June 2010, before the swearing-in of those three, then-board president Campbell and her allies attempted to oust three other members, including Dickerson, for missing three straight meetings without valid excuses.

But the state education commissioner issued the board a "stay order" on June 21, 2010, reinstating Dickerson, whose seat had been declared vacated.

In his recent decision, Steiner said there is no dispute that Bynoe, Caines and Davis were duly elected to the board.

Thursday, Dickerson said Steiner's ruling "is the final chapter to political confusion that went on in the district this past year." Campbell was re-elected to the board in May, and Lanzilotta remains a board member.

Earlier this year, Acting Supreme Court Justice Michael Melkonian affirmed the status of Dickerson and the other board members.

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