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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Rules of the New York State Civil Service Commission typically do not control with respect to employees of a political subdivision of the State.


Rules of the New York State Civil Service Commission typically do not control with respect to employees of a political subdivision of the State.
Matter of Civil Serv. Employees Assn., Inc. v Baldwin Union Free School Dist., 2011 NY Slip Op 04461, Appellate Division, Second Department

Francesco Pignataro, an employee of the Baldwin Union Free School District, filed a grievance and a demand for arbitration alleging that the District wrongly removed him from the payroll. Ultimately a proposed settlement of the matter was negotiated pursuant to which, among other things, it was agreed that Pignataro would receive the sum of $50,000 as compensation for his leave accruals in exchange for his resignation and the withdrawal of his grievance.

The Appellate Division subsequently ruled that Pignataro's letter of resignation was not "delivered" to the Board so as to preclude Pignataro from unilaterally withdrawing his letter of resignation without the Board's consent "under the pertinent Civil Service Law regulation (see 4 NYCRR 5.3[c])."*

However, 4 NYCRR 1.1, Application of rules, provides that

“Except as otherwise specified in any particular rule, these rules shall apply to positions and employments in the classified service of the State and public authorities, public benefit corporations and other agencies for which the Civil Service Law is administered by the State Department of Civil Service.”

Accordingly, 4 NYCRR 5.3[c] controls only with respect to employees of the State of New York as an employer and those entities for which the Civil Service Law is administered by the New York State Department of Civil Service. The Baldwin Union Free School District is not such an entity.

A number of local civil service commissions have adopted a rule similar to 4 NYCRR 5.3[c].** For example, Westchester County Civil Service Rule 17 addresses resignations and provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

“17.3 Withdrawal or amendment [of a resignation]. A resignation may not be withdrawn, cancelled or amended after it is delivered to the appointing authority, without the consent of the appointing authority.”

In the event the Nassau County Civil Service Commission has adopted a rule addressing the ability of an individual to withdraw his or her resignation, presumably the Appellate Division would apply that rule in resolving the matter.

* 4 NYCRR 5.3(c) provides that a resignation of a civil service employee, which must be in writing, "may not be withdrawn, cancelled or amended after it is delivered to the appointing authority, without the consent of the appointing authority." However, this rule applies only to employees in the classified service of the State and public authorities, public benefit corporations and other agencies for which the Civil Service Law is administered by the State Department of Civil Service. Many local civil service commissions have adopted a similar rule.:

** Section 20 of the Civil Service Law sets out the procedures to be followed by a local civil service commission or personnel officer wishing to amend its “personnel rules.” It provides that such rules may be amended only after a public hearing and requires the approval of the State Civil Service Commission. Finally, to have the “force and effect of law,” the amendment must be filed with the Secretary of State to complete the process.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2011/2011_04461.htm

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The Discipline Book, - a concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State. A 1900+ page e-book. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html

The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - a 435 page handbook reviewing the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5216.html

A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - A 600+ page guide to penalties imposed on public employees in New York State found guilty of selected acts of misconduct. For more information, click on http://booklocker.com/books/7401.html

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