Meredith, Reed, Friedman, JJ.
appeal raises the question of whether the Maryland
Correctional Training Commission may revoke a correctional
officer's certification (which the officer must have to
work) after that officer has been recertified pursuant to an
administrative order. We hold that, under these convoluted
circumstances, the Commission may revoke the correctional
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Miller was a correctional officer at the Maryland Reception,
Diagnostic & Classification Center ("MRDCC").
As a requirement of her employment, she held a certification
from the Correctional Training Commission. In 2010, Warden
Solomon Hejirka of the MRDCC terminated Miller's
employment after he learned that Miller was engaged in a
sexual relationship with an inmate ("First
Termination"). Miller appealed her termination to the
Office of Administrative Hearings
("OAH") ("First Appeal") and, following
a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ")
ordered that the notice of termination be rescinded. The ALJ
determined that the Warden had terminated Miller's
employment more than thirty days after discovering
Miller's misconduct, and thus the termination came too
late under the governing law. SP § 11-106(b) (stating
that an appointing authority may impose disciplinary action
no later than 30 days after acquiring knowledge of the
misconduct). As a result, an ALJ ordered that Miller be
reinstated with full back pay and benefits but did not
reinstate her certification without further examination
("First ALJ Order").
was reinstated to her position and was assigned to
non-inmate-related tasks pending her recertification. During
the recertification process, the Correctional Training
Commission (the "Commission") discovered that
Miller had failed to disclose a prior employment on her
application. As a result of this nondisclosure, the
Commission refused to recertify Miller and she was again
terminated ("Second Termination").
appealed her second termination ("Second Appeal").
Following a hearing, an ALJ found that Miller's Second
Termination was pretextual and that the Department failed to
follow the recertification process. An ALJ ordered that
Miller's Second Termination be rescinded and that she be
reinstated "with no further examination or
condition" ("Second ALJ Order") as is
specifically permitted pursuant to CS § 8-209.2(a).
Miller was again reinstated to her position and was issued a
Miller's second reinstatement, the Commission convened a
hearing to determine if Miller's certification should be
revoked due to her alleged sexual relationship with an
inmate. The Commission considered the investigation by the
Internal Investigation Unit of the Department of Public
Safety and Correctional Services and concluded that Miller
was indeed involved in a sexual relationship with the inmate.
Based on that conclusion, the Commission issued a decision
ordering that Miller's certification be revoked and, as a
result, she was again terminated ("Third
appealed the revocation of her certification ("Third
Appeal"). Following a hearing, an ALJ concluded that the
Commission did not violate the Second ALJ Order by revoking
Miller's certification after she had been reinstated
("Third ALJ Order"). "Nothing in section
8-209.(b) of the Correctional Services Article
prevents [the Commission] from revoking [Miller's]
certification after it was reinstated according to the
filed a petition for judicial review in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City. Following an unfavorable decision in the
circuit court, Miller has appealed to this Court.
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONAL
are two paths through which a correctional officer may lose
his or her position. To understand Miller's various
firings, certifications, reinstatements, and
recertifications, it is necessary to understand the structure
of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
("the Department") and those two paths. At the top
of the organizational chart for the Department is the
Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services. CS
§ 2-102(a)(2). There are several units below the
Secretary, each with its own distinct duties. CS §2-201.
Relevant to this appeal are the two units that participate in
the certification, supervision, and termination of
correctional officers. Those units are (1) the Correctional
Training Commission (referred to above as "the
Commission"), CS §§ 2-201(7), 8-203; and (2)
the Operations unit.
the Commission comprises the entirety of its unit, the
Operations unit further divides. At the top of the Operations
unit is the Commissioner of Correction. CS § 3-202.
Below the Commissioner of Correction is the Warden of each
facility. CS § 3-211. One of the facilities included in
the Operations unit is MRDCC. The powers of a Warden are
limited to the specific facility that the Warden supervises.
CS § 3-211 (stating that each Warden "is in direct
charge of the correctional facility to which the warden
… is appointed" and that the warden shall
"supervise the government, discipline, and policy of the
correctional facility."). If a correctional officer is
accused of misconduct, the Warden, as the appointing
authority for that facility, is tasked with investigating the
alleged misconduct, meeting with the employee, and
determining the appropriate disciplinary action. SP §
11-106(a). The Warden may take a number of disciplinary
actions including a written reprimand, suspension without
pay, up to termination of employment. SP § 11-104. A
correctional officer's certification, which is issued by
the Commission, is no longer valid upon termination by a
Warden. COMAR 12.10.01.06B(2)(a). A correctional officer may
appeal his or her termination to the Secretary, who then may
refer the appeal to the OAH. SP §§ 11-109; 11-110.
On appeal, an ALJ may uphold, rescind, or modify the
termination. SP § 11-110(d)(1). The ALJ may also order
recertification with or without examination. CS §
correctional officer is hired, he or she must "meet
minimum qualifications established by the Commission"
and apply for certification. CS §§ 8-209; 8-209.1.
Correctional officer candidates must obtain certification
from the Commission within one year of appointment. CS §
8-209 (allowing probationary appointment of correctional
officers for no more than one year "for the purpose of
enabling the individual seeking permanent appointment to take
a training course prescribed by the Commission."). The
Commission also has the power to revoke a certification. CS
§ 8-209.2. If an ALJ rescinds or modifies a disciplinary
action, at the ALJ's ...