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Monday, April 30, 2012

Legislation proposed to provide for a new procedure for determining suspensions and demotions of members of certain police agencies upon abolition or reduction of positions

Legislation proposed to provide for a new procedure for determining suspensions and demotions of members of certain police agencies upon abolition or reduction of positions


In the Assembly April 20, 2012 [A9887-2011]; In the Senate April 27, 2012  S7075-2011

This bill seeks to amend §80 of the New York State Civil Service Law as it applies to members of any police agency in the State other than those police agencies already subject to the provisions of subdivisions 1-a through 1-d of §80.

The proposed amendment, if signed into law would use seniority for the purposed of demotions and,or,  reductions in force on the basis of time in grade or title in contrast seniority based on service in the classified service.

The bills sponsor state that “This amendment would address a longstanding problem in the police community, as witnessed by the fact that 4 police agencies (the City of Buffalo Police and Fire Departments, employees of secure detention facilities in the State of New York, sworn employees of the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, and the Nassau County Police Department) have already obtained passage of existing subdivisions 1-a through 1-d changing the measure [seniority for the purposes of layoff] from time in the classified service to time in grade or title.”

The sponsors offer the following justification for this amendment to the Civil Service Law:

“Under the current law, suspensions or demotions in the Civil Service upon the abolition or reduction of positions must be made based upon seniority, with demotions or reductions in force to be made in "inverse order of original appointment on a permanent basis in the classified service" (CSL, §80.1). The spirit of the law is to safeguard the employment of those employees with the most time in the system, with the general principle being "last in - first out". In the uniformed services, this law can have a reverse effect essentially retaining employees with shorter tenures in the civil service rank while demoting those with longer tenures in rank. For example, a police officer with ten years in rank as a Sergeant would have to be demoted before a police officer with 1 year in rank as a Sergeant if the latter had more time in the classified service.* As mentioned above, several uniformed services operations have recognized this inequity and obtained individual legislative amendments to §80 of the New York Civil Service Law requiring said demotions and reductions to be made by "inverse order of original appointment on a permanent basis in the grade or title". We believe that this is the preferred and equitable method to handle these issues within the context of the police community and that it should be adopted state-wide, which this bill would do.”**

The text of Assembly 9887, Senate 7075 is set out below:

AN ACT to amend the civil service law, in relation to the calculation of seniority for purposes of layoffs or demotions

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

[Matter in ITALICS underscored is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted].


Section  1. Section 80 of the civil service law is amended by adding a new subdivision 1-e to read as follows:

 1-e. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of this section, the sworn members of any police agency as defined in section eight hundred thirty-five of the executive law, other than police agencies referred to in subdivisions one-a through one-d of this section shall be subject to the following procedure. Where, because of economy, consolidation or abolition of functions, curtailment of activities or otherwise, positions in the competitive class are abolished or reduced in rank or salary grade, suspension or demotion, as the case may be, among incumbents holding the same or similar positions shall be made in the inverse order of original appointment on a permanent basis in the grade or title in the service of the governmental jurisdiction in which such abolition or reduction of positions occurs, subject to the provisions of subdivision seven of section eighty-five of this chapter; provided, however, that the date of original appointment of any such incumbent who was transferred to such governmental jurisdiction from another governmental jurisdiction upon the transfer of functions shall be the date of original appointment on a permanent basis in the classified service in the service of the governmental jurisdiction from which such transfer was made. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subdivision, however, upon the abolition or reduction of positions in the competitive class, incumbents holding the same or similar positions who have not completed their probationary services shall be suspended or demoted, as the case may be, before any permanent incumbents, and among such probationary employees the order of suspension or demotion shall be determined as if such employees were permanent incumbents.

S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

* This rationale could be applied to all positions in the classified service.


** Presumably the seniority provisions of Section 80.2 defining "continuous service" applies with respect to such an individual's rights with respect to "bumping," "displacement" and placement on a Section 81 preferred list for reinstatement.

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The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - a 645-page e-book reviewing the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions is available from the Public Employment Law Press. Click On http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/ for additional information about this electronic reference manual.
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

From the Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli -Selected audits and reports issued during the period April 23-29, 2012


From the Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli -Selected audits and reports issued during the period April 23-29, 2012
Please click on the caption to access report posted on the Internet.

DiNapoli Announces Audits of Troubled Central New York Developmental Disabilities Services Office

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced Thursday that his office will examine whether the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities’ (OPWDD) Central New York Developmental Disabilities Services Office has taken action to end the numerous criminal and ethical violations exposed in previous Comptroller’s audits. Auditors will undertake three audits to determine if OPWDD has acted on the recommendations of prior reports.


DiNapoli: School District Tax Levy Growth Averages 3 Percent Statewide Under New Limits

School district tax levies in the 2012-13 school year are limited to average increases of 3 percent under a new property tax cap law, in addition to any further increases approved by voter overrides of the cap, according to a preliminary analysis of data released Monday by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office.


Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli this week announced his office completed the following audits:
the Town of Duanesburg;

the Village of Endicott;

the Village of Herkimer;

the Village of North Collins;

the Village of South Blooming Grove; and

the Spencerport Fire District.


Comptroller DiNapoli Releases School Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli this week announced his office completed the following audits:

the BOCES’ Non–Instructional Services; and

the Monroe–Woodbury Central School District.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Court’s review of an administrative disciplinary action is limited to determining if the decision is supported by substantial evidence


Court’s review of an administrative disciplinary action is limited to determining if the decision is supported by substantial evidence
 
The Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Social Services adopted the finding and recommendation of a hearing officer as to the employee’s being guilty of a certain charge of misconduct after a §75 disciplinary hearing and terminated the individual's employment.

The Appellate Division confirmed the Commissioner’s determination, denying the former employee’s petition “on the merits, with costs.”

The court explained that a court's review of administrative determinations in employee disciplinary cases made after a hearing under Civil Service Law §75 is limited to a consideration of whether the determination was supported by substantial evidence in the record of the hearing. In this instance, said the court, there was substantial evidence in the record to support the determination that the employee was guilty of misconduct

Further, the court found that the penalty of termination “was not so disproportionate to the offense as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness, thus constituting an abuse of discretion as a matter of law.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_02882.htm


Thursday, April 26, 2012

A reviewing body may not ignore evidence in the record in making its determination


A reviewing body may not ignore evidence in the record in making its determination

The Appellate Division granted the disability retirement applicant’s petition to annul the decision denying his request to amend his application for accidental disability retirement (ADR) benefits and remanded the matter with the direction that individual be permitted to amend his application to include a heart-related disability.

The court said the Retirement Board's determination was arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion as at the time it denied application for ADR benefits based on an orthopedic condition, a member of the Board was aware that the applicant had suffered a heart attack, was incapacitated, and might wish to amend his application to include a claim under the Heart Bill [see Retirement and Social Security Law §363-a.].

The Appellate Division also noted that the record showed that the applicant’s heart condition predated his retirement, but was not diagnosed until after he retired.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_02945.htm

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A party’s failure to have an arbitration award confirmed is not a ground for vacating the award


A party’s failure to have an arbitration award confirmed is not a ground for vacating the award 
The Appellate Division succinctly ruled that the application to vacate the arbitration award filed pursuant to Article 75 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules was made more than 90 days after the award was delivered to the individual and is therefore untimely.

The court also noted that although CPLR Article 75 provides a mechanism by which a party may obtain judicial confirmation of an arbitration award, the failure to have an award confirmed is not a ground for vacating the award, citing CPLR §§7510 and 7511[b][1].

Addressing another claim by the individual – that the arbitration award should be vacated under CPLR §751l(b)(1)(iv), “failure to follow the procedure,” the Appellate Division explained that subdivision (iv) address vacating the award because of a "failure to follow the procedure” set out in Article 75. 

However, said the court, if a party applying to vacate the award pursuant to subdivision (iv) continued with the arbitration with notice of the defect and without objection, the award may not be vacated for that reason.

In this instance, said the court, the party seeking to vacate the award under color of §751l(b)(1)(iv) participated in the arbitration without objection as to the procedure employed and thus the award could not be vacated as otherwise permitted by subdivision (iv).

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_02949.htm

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

State of Maryland bill prohibiting employers from requiring job applicants to reveal Internet passwords pending approval by the Governor


State of Maryland bill prohibiting employers from requiring job applicants to reveal Internet passwords pending approval by the Governor

The Maryland legislature's has passed a bill [Senate 433; House 964] prohibiting, among other things, employers from 1) requesting or requiring a job applicant to disclose user names or passwords for a personal electronic service; 2) refusing to hire an applicant for not providing access to such information; and 3) terminating or disciplining an employee for refusing to provide this information.

The provision is pending action by the Governor and if signed into law would take effect October 1, 2012.

The text of the bill is posted on the Internet at:
http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/bills/sb/sb0433t.pdf

The employee’s refusal to participate in a disciplinary hearing does not mean that the employee was denied administrative due process


The employee’s refusal to participate in a disciplinary hearing does not mean that the employee was denied administrative due process  

The Appellate Division rejected the employee's arguments seeking to vacate or modify a disciplinary action determination on grounds that included allegations that the hearing officer was biased and exceeded her authority in reaching a determination without affording the employee administrative due process.

The court said that the employee’s allegations were refuted by the record holding that the individual “was afforded every opportunity to present a defense and she acknowledges intentionally attempting to stonewall the proceedings by not appearing for and/or not participating on many of the hearing dates.”

Holding that the award was made in accord with due process, was supported by adequate evidence, and was rational and was not arbitrary and capricious, the Appellate Division noted that the employee failed to meet her burden of showing, by clear and convincing evidence, that the hearing officer was partial in her consideration of the evidence and ultimate determination.

Concluding that the penalty imposed, six months suspension without pay, was neither shocking to the court’s sense of fairness nor disproportionate to the multiple offenses for which she was found guilty, the court dismissed the employee’s petition.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

 

Employee’s loss of employment as a result of his or her “off-duty” misconduct disqualifies the individual for unemployment insurance benefits


Employee’s loss of employment as a result of his or her “off-duty” misconduct disqualifies the individual for unemployment insurance benefits

The Appellate Division affirmed the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board’s decision that disqualified an applicant for unemployment insurance benefits based on its finding that, among other things, the applicant for such benefits had left his employment following misconduct unrelated to his work.

The applicant had resigned form his position "in lieu of termination" following his arrest on multiple counts of aggravated harassment* in connection with his allegedly having made harassing phone calls to various women in the course of activities “unrelated to his employment."

The Appeal Board had rejected the applicant’s claim that he was entitled to benefits because his termination “stemmed from activity unrelated to his employment.”

The Appellate Division ruled that "[m]isconduct committed during nonworking hours, which raises serious questions as to a worker['s] integrity, bears a relationship to his [or her] work within the meaning of . . . the Labor Law."

* The applicant ultimately entered a plead guilty to two of the charges filed against him, which were later reduced to harassment in the second degree.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


Monday, April 23, 2012

OSHA releases information addressing “Employer Safety Incentive and Disincentive Policies and Practices”


OSHA releases information addressing “Employer Safety Incentive and Disincentive Policies and Practices”

OSHA has posted a new enforcement memo online focusing on "Employer Safety Incentive and Disincentive Policies and Practices".

According to the HRTraniningCenter.com, OSHA views as suspect any incentive or disciplinary programs linked to worker accidents resulting in injury or illness. In addition, OSHA may prosecute employers whose programs violate worker whistleblower rights under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970.

A 90-minute training session via on the new rules via Audio Conferencing is being offered by HRTrainingCenter.com on April 24, 2012 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

Additional information concerning this training session is available on the Internet at: http://hrtrainingcenter.com/showWCDetails.asp?TCID=1010681&RID=1010687

Disclosure of public information or records to one is disclosure to all


Disclosure of public information or records to one is disclosure to all

The basic rule when considering a Freedom of Information Law [FOIL] request is that the theory underlying FOIL is that all public documents are subject to disclosure.

The release of some public records, however, may be limited by statute [see, for example, Education Law, §1127 - Confidentiality of records; §33.13, Mental Hygiene Law - Clinical records; confidentiality]. Otherwise, an individual is not required to submit a FOIL request as a condition precedent to obtaining public records where access is not barred by statute.

However, the custodian of the records may elect to deny access to documents otherwise subject FOIL absent a FOIL request or if it decides that the document requested may be withheld because it meets one or more of the exceptions set out in the law.

Significantly, there is no bar to providing information pursuant to a FOIL request, or otherwise, even if it falls within one or more of the exceptions that the custodian could rely upon in denying a FOIL request, in whole or in part, for the information or records demanded.

Indeed, a FOIL request is required only in the event the custodian of the public record[s] sought declines to “voluntarily” provide the information or record requested. In such cases the individual or organization world be required to file a FOIL request to obtain the information or record.

Further, it appears that once the information or record sought is provided to one party, it may not be denied to another party.

On this point the State’s Committee On Open Government advised a Town’s attorney that there was no legal basis to withhold the information requested pursuant to a newspaper’s FOIL request after it was disclosed to another newspaper.

In this instance Robert Freeman, the Committee’s Executive Director, stated that, in his view, “If a record is disclosed to one news media organization [by the custodian of the record]…it should be disclosed to any news media or for that matter any person requesting it.” Notwithstanding this advisory opinion, the Town’s attorney refused to supply the document demanded in the FOIL request submitted to the Town’s clerk.

Once possible exception: if the document demanded was provided pursuant to a court order or a subpoena, this may not constitute “disclosure” within Mr. Freeman’s meaning.

From the Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli - Selected audits and reports issued during the period April 16 - 22, 2012


From the Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli - Selected audits and reports issued during the period April 16 - 22, 2012
Please click on the caption to access report posted on the Internet.

DiNapoli: Syracuse Woman Sentenced for Stealing from the New York State Retirement System

Syracuse resident Kathleen Prince was sentenced last week in Onondaga County Court for stealing more than $29,000 from the New York State and Local Retirement System, marking the end of a joint investigation by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Onondaga County District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick.

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli this week announced his office completed the following audits:
The Town of Waverly.



Friday, April 20, 2012

The five most visited NYPPL posts during the week of April 13 through April 20, 2012 Click on title to access item.


The five most visited NYPPL posts during the week of April 13 through April 20, 2012
Click on the web site indicated to access item.


1. Individuals employed by a government agency for a particular assignment may be eligible for the same qualified immunity enjoyed by individuals on the staff of the agency 

2. A member of a board testifying at a Civil Service Law §75 disciplinary hearing should recuse himself or herself from considering and acting on the findings and recommendations of the hearing officer

3. If the CBA provides for the arbitration of alleged contract violations, unless there is a statutory, constitutional or public policy prohibition barring such arbitration courts cannot stay the arbitration

4. Some procedural defects that bar the vacating of the arbitrator’s award

5. Former employee’s law suit alleging statements in the minutes of a board meeting were defamatory dismissed
http://publicpersonnellaw.blogspot.com/2012/04/former-employees-law-suit-alleging.html

Individuals employed by a government agency for a particular assignment may be eligible for the same qualified immunity enjoyed by individuals on the staff of the agency


Individuals employed by a government agency for a particular assignment may be eligible for the same qualified immunity enjoyed by individuals on the staff of the agency 
Filarsky v. Delia, USSC, No. 10–1018

Is an individual hired by a government agency to do its work ineligible to claim a qualified immunity in the event he or she is sued for some act or omission related to the service he or she is providing the government agency solely because he or she serves with the agency other than on a permanent or full-time basis?

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that a “private attorney,” because he or she was not a City employ­ee, was not entitled to claim the protection of a qualified immunity. The United States Supreme Court disagreed.

In this case, said the court, there was no dispute that qualified immunity was available the individuals employed by the jurisdiction as an employer and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted this protection to the jurisdiction’s employees. It, however, denied such protection to the “private attorney” working with the public officials “because he was not a public employee but was instead a private individual ‘retained by the City to participate in internal affairs investigations.’”

The court said that in de­termining whether this distinction is valid, it considered the “general principles of tort immunities and defenses” appli­cable at common law, and the reasons the court earlier afforded such protection from lawsuit under 42 USC §1983.

The Supreme Court’s conclusion: While not a public em­ployee, Steve A. Filarsky, Esq., the private attorney, was retained by the City to assist in conducting an official investigation into potential wrong­doing. The court said that there was no dispute that government employees performing such work were entitled to seek the protection of qualified immunity. The common law does not draw any distinction between a public employee and a private attorney in this regard.

Noting that New York City has a Department of Investigation staffed by full-time public employees who investigate city personnel, and the resources to pay for it, the Supreme Court said “The City of Rialto [California] has neither, and so must rely on the occasional services of private individuals such as Mr. Filarsky. There is no reason Rialto’s internal affairs investigator should be denied the qualified immunity enjoyed by the ones who work for New York.”*

Justice Ginsburg, in her concurring opinion cautioned that the claim of "Qualified immunity may be overcome, however, if the defendant knew or should have known that his [or her] con­duct violated a right ‘clearly established’ at the time of the episode in suit," citing Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800.

The Supreme Court revered the 9th Circuit’s judgment denying qualified immunity to Mr. Filarsky.

* N.B. Citing Richardson v. McKnight, 521 U. S. 399, the Supreme Court noted that “This does not mean that a private individual may assert qualified immunity only when working in close coordina­tion with government employees.” Such immunity also available to others acting on behalf of the government and similarly serves to “ensure that talented candidates [are] not de­terred by the threat of damages suits from entering public service.” However, Justice Sotomayor, in her concurring opinion, commented “… it does not follow that every private individual who works for the government in some capacity necessarily may claim qualified immunity when sued under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Such individuals must satisfy [the court’s] usual test for conferring immunity.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-1018.pdf

Disciplinary arbitrator may consider hearsay evidence and unsworn testimony in making his or her determination


Disciplinary arbitrator may consider hearsay evidence and unsworn testimony in making his or her determination

The Appellate Division held that an arbitration award that resulted in the termination of the employee was made in accordance with due process; was supported by adequate evidence; and was rational and not arbitrary and capricious.

Citing Gray v Adduci, 73 NY2d 741, the court noted that "[h]earsay evidence can be the basis of an administrative determination." 

In addition, the Appellate Division said that unsworn testimony by witnesses to the incidents that led to the filing of disciplinary charges and the employee’s own testimony acknowledged the incidents, while offering differing exculpatory accounts thereof, supported the hearing officer’s determination.

As to the penalty imposed, termination, the court said that it did not find dismissal “so disproportionate to the multiple specifications upheld [the employee] with verbal and physical abuse of students and faculty members as to shock our sense of fairness, even considering the mitigating factors of [the employee’s] recurrent health issues.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

Court vacates hearing officer’s determination for failure to comply with the agency’s rules and regulations


Court vacates hearing officer’s determination for failure to comply with the agency’s rules and regulations

This decision by the Appellate Division demonstrates that administrative due process applies in cases where a prisoner is charged with alleged misconduct and a disciplinary proceeding is conducted.

In this instance a prisoner was found guilty of certain alleged offences and a penalty of 90 days in solitary confinement and restitution of $100 was imposed. The individual appealed.

The Appellate Division, reversing a lower court’s ruling to the contrary, granted the prisoner’s petition and [1] annulled the determination of the hearing officer, [2] dismissed the charges against the individual and [3] directed the New York City Department of Correction “to expunge all references to the charges from [the individual’s] institutional records.”

The court found that hearing officer failed to provide accused with a written statement summarizing the testimony of three witnesses who testified in his favor and failed to state her reasons for rejecting the testimony of those witnesses and of the accused, in violation of relevant directives of the New York City Department of Correction. The Appellate Division said that the agency “is required to comply with its own regulation.”

Considering a procedural issue, the Appellate Division held that although the Department contended that the prisoner had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, it would not consider that defense because the Department had failed to raise that claim it its answer.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_02947.htm

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Determining if a grievance resulting from an alleged violation of a collective bargaining agreement is subject to arbitration


Determining if a grievance resulting from an alleged violation of a collective bargaining agreement is subject to arbitration
In the Matter of the Arbitration between the Village of Horseheads and the Horseheads Police Benevolent Assn., Inc., 2012 NY Slip Op 02543, Appellate Division, Third Department

The Appellate Division, affirming a lower court’s ruling, said that the role of the court in reviewing an application to stay arbitration is limited. In determining if a particular grievance is subject to arbitration, the court must first determine if the parties may lawfully arbitrate the underlying dispute and, if so, whether they did in fact agree to so arbitrate the issue.

In this instance the Village of Horseheads did not contend that there was a statutory, constitutional or public policy prohibition against arbitrating this particular grievance. Accordingly, the sole issue for the court to determine was whether or not the parties, in accordance with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, agreed to arbitrate the grievance presented by the Police Benevolent Association.

The relevant collective bargaining provision, said the court, defined a grievance as "any claimed violation, misinterpretation or inequitable application of existing laws, rules, procedures, regulations, application or enforcement of the terms of this agreement, administrative orders or work orders or rules of [the Village]."
Whether the Village’s action constituted an actual violation of a rule or regulation "goes to the merits of the grievance [itself], not to its arbitrability," said the court. Accordingly, this was an issue for the arbitrator to resolve.

In contrast, the Appellate Division emphasized that “For purposes of [its] limited inquiry, it [was] sufficient that [the Association had] asserted a ‘claimed violation’ of certain rules and regulations and that a ‘claimed violation’ is, in turn, subject to the grievance procedure set forth in the CBA “

The decision is posted on the Internet at: 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Appointing authority urged to permit employee terminated for cause to apply for a vested interest retirement


Appointing authority urged to permit employee terminated for cause to apply for a vested interest retirement

The police commissioner terminated a police officer after he was found guilty of official misconduct and violations of the Police Department Patrol Guide.

The Appellate Division annulled the commissioner’s action after dismissing certain specifications and remanded the matter the commissioner “for a determination of a new penalty on the remaining specifications.” Although the court found that there was no substantial evidence to prove the specifications that it had dismissed, it, in contrast, said that the “remaining specifications” were supported by substantial evidence.

However, the Appellate Division also said that “If the Commissioner sees fit to adhere to the penalty of termination,” the police officer "should be permitted to apply for a vested interest retirement."

Although the court acknowledged that the commissioner's penalty determination “is deserving of due deference,” it explained that it was also mindful of the fact that courts "cannot operate merely as a rubber stamp of the administrative determination if the measure of punishment or discipline imposed is so disproportionate to the offense, in the light of all of the circumstances, as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness.”

Characterizing the police officer’s misconduct  “an aberration from his otherwise exemplary career over approximately two decades,” and that termination would work an extreme hardship on the officer’s innocent family, the Appellate Division, Judge Sweeny dissenting, concluded that “[u]nder these circumstances, even in light of the repellent behavior exhibited by [the officer], the deprivation of his retirement benefits is shocking to one's sense of fairness, citing the Pell Doctrine [Matter of Pell, 34 NY2d at 233].

N.B. The Administrative Code of the City of New York provides that an employee may forfeit his or her retirement allowance under certain circumstances. For example, Section 13-173.1 of the Administrative Code requires a sanitation member to "be in service" on the effective date of his or her retirement or vesting of retirement benefits. If the member is not "in service" on that date, he or she forfeits his or her retirement benefits.The Court of Appeals addressed the provisions of Section 13-173.1 in Waldeck v NYC Employees' Retirement System, 81 N.Y.2d 804, decided with Barbaro v NYC Employees' Retirement System.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_02787.htm

Former employee’s law suit alleging statements in the minutes of a board meeting were defamatory dismissed


Former employee’s law suit alleging statements in the minutes of a board meeting were defamatory dismissed

A court clerk was terminated by the town justice. The next day the town justice appeared at a special meeting of the Town Board to discuss the clerk’s termination and to request approval to hire a replacement court clerk.

The former town clerk then sued the town justice and the Town alledging that defamatory statements concerning her work and qualifications were recorded in the minutes of the Town Board’s special meeting and the minutes, that were later approved, were posted on the Town's Web site.*

Although the Appellate Division held that Supreme Court erred in dismissing the slander cause of action filed by the former court clerk against the town justice as untimely,** it held that the lower court had correctly determined that all of the statements the former court clerk alleged to be defamatory were either [1] opinion; [2] not directed at former court clerk; or [3] needed extrinsic facts to make them defamatory.

Thus, concluded the court, Supreme Court “correctly determined that the statements were not defamatory as a matter of law” and dismissed the complaint.

* See Public Officers Law §106

** The Appellate Division observed that if the town justice was acting solely on his or her own behalf, the Town would not be liable for his or her actions and the CPLR §215[3]’s one-year statute of limitations would apply to the cause of action. In contrast, if the town justice was acting within the scope of his or her employment with the Town, the Town may be liable for his or her conduct and would thus be the real party in interest; and under those circumstances the provisions set out in General Municipal Law §50-i would control.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_02546.htm

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some procedural defects that bar the vacating of the arbitrator’s award


Some procedural defects that bar the vacating of the arbitrator’s award
Beals v New York City Transit Authority, 2012 NY Slip Op 02784, Appellate Division, First Department

The Beals decision by the Appellate Division, First Department, sets out a number of procedural defects that defeated the employee’s efforts to vacate an adverse arbitration award.

First, said the Appellate Division, the arbitrator “properly declined” to apply the collective bargaining agreement's statute of limitations for filing disciplinary charges as, pursuant to its terms, the statute of limitations did not commence to run while an investigation of the conduct leading to the disciplinary charges against employee was under way. Further, said the court, “any error by the arbitrator in interpreting the facts or applying the law on this issue did not provide a basis for vacatur of the award.”

Other procedural defects noted by the Appellate Division barring granting the employee’s petition seeking to the vacate the award in this instance included:

1. An individual waives his or her claims that the arbitrator should have enforced his or her witness subpoenas by failing to seek a stay of the arbitration and a court ruling compelling compliance and by continuing with the arbitration;

2. An arbitrator's erroneous evidentiary rulings with may support vacatur only if the evidence would have been pertinent and material; and

3. The employee’s failure to cite any provision in the collective bargaining agreement to support his or her contention that the arbitrator exceeded a restriction on his or her power.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_02784.htm

Monday, April 16, 2012

Failure to fully comply with the procedures required by the Commissioner’s regulations when filing a notice of petition is a fatal jurisdictional defect


Failure to fully comply with the procedures required by the Commissioner’s regulations when filing a notice of petition is a fatal jurisdictional defect

This ruling by the Commissioner of Education again illustrates the fact that the failure to strictly comply with the filing requirements set out in Commissioner’s regulation will preclude the Commissioner’s considering the merits of the petition or appeal. 

Petitioners had withdrawn one aspect of their appeal, conceding that it was moot.

The School District then asked the Commissioner to dismiss the “surviving” elements of their petition, which sought the removal of a member of the school board. The school board contended that these claims should be dismissed because the petitioners had failed to include the notice required by 8 NYCRR §277.1(b) in such cases in their petition.  

The Commissioner agreed, ruling that the application seeking the removal of a school board member “must be dismissed because the notice of petition is defective.”

Noting that the Commissioner’s regulations require that the notice accompanying a removal application must specifically advise a school officer that an application is being made for his or her removal from office (see 8 NYCRR §277.1[b]) the Commissioner ruled that the petitioners failed to give such notice and, instead, had used the notice prescribed under §275.11(a) for appeals brought pursuant to Education Law §310.
  
The bottom line: A notice of petition which fails to contain the language required by the Commissioner’s controlling regulation is fatally defective and does not secure jurisdiction over the intended respondent.

The Commissioner’s decision, Decision #16,346, is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/Decisions/volume51/d16346.html

From the Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli

From the Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli
Audits and reports issued during the period April 9 - 15, 2012 

DiNapoli: Audit Reveals Alleged Procurement Improprieties at SUNY Downstate Medical Center

An audit spurred by anonymous tips revealed fake bids for construction contracts and other procurement problems at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Findings of the audit have been referred to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.


NYSHIP Contractors Wasting Millions in Taxpayer Money

The New York State Health Insurance Program erroneously paid as much as $11 million for special items such as implants, drugs and blood and evaluation procedures that were not performed according to two audits released Wednesday by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.


Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced this week the following audits have been issued: the Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services.


DiNapoli Releases Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli this week announced his office completed the following audits: the Village of Amityviller; the Village of Bloomingburg; the Carl Place Garbage District; the Town of Copake; the Town of Galway; and, the Massapequa Fire District.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Use of hearsay evidence in an administrative disciplinary action


Use of hearsay evidence in an administrative disciplinary action

Does hearsay evidence constitute “adequate evidence” for the purposes of sustaining disciplinary charges? In this action the Appellate Division found that it did.

Hearsay evidence, said the court, can be the basis of an administrative determination and, “if sufficiently probative, it alone may constitute substantial evidence," citing Matter of CafĂ© La China Corp. v New York State Liq. Auth., 43 AD3d 280, quoting Matter of Gray v Adduci, 73 NY2d 741. According, said the court, a hearing officer could base his or her finding the individual guilty of the charges on such hearsay evidence.

The standard applied by the Appellate Division: Education Law § 3020-a (5) provides that a court's review of an application to vacate or modify the decision of a hearing officer is limited to the grounds set forth in CPLR 7511, the provision pertaining to review of arbitrators' awards. It is now established, however, that, because §3020-a hearings are compulsory, the hearing officer's "`determination must be in accord with due process and supported by adequate evidence, and must also be rational and satisfy the arbitrary and capricious standards of CPLR article 78.'"

However, in this instance, although the hearing officer’s finding that the employee was guilty, the Appellate Division ruled that the penalty imposed, termination, had to be vacated and the matter remanded to a different hearing officer for the imposition of the penalty to be imposed “on the basis of the administrative record of the hearing.”

The court said that “It is a fundamental principle of due process that ‘`no person may lose substantial rights because of wrongdoing shown by the evidence but not charged, [and where that principle is violated,] prejudice will be presumed.`"

Accordingly, said the Appellate Division, the Hearing Officer's decision imposing the penalty of termination cannot stand, because it appears to be based, in significant part, on evidence of wrongdoing that was not charged.

The decision is posted on the Internet at: 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Administrative Law Judge rules that the Civil Service Law does not give the employer the authority to discipline an employee for alleged misconduct that occurred before he or she was employed


Administrative Law Judge rules that the Civil Service Law does not give the employer the authority to discipline an employee for alleged misconduct that occurred before he or she was employed

OATH Administrative Law Judge Faye Lewis, citing Umlauf v. Safir, 286 A.D.2d 267, noted that it was error for the employer to attempt to terminate an employee for alleged pre-hiring misconduct as the authority with respect to such alleged pre-hiring conduct is “statutorily vested in the head of the New York City Department of … Citywide Administrative Services” pursuant to Civil Service Law §50(4).

§50(4) permits the “appropriate municipal commission” to “investigate the qualifications of an eligible after he [or she] has been appointed from the list, and upon finding facts which if known prior to appointment, would have warranted his [or her] disqualification ... may revoke such eligible’s certification and appointment and direct that his [or her] employment be terminated.”

Other issues considered by Judge Lewis in making her determination included the applicability of §160.50 of the Criminal Procedure Law to the admissibility of certain exhibits in the course of the administrative disciplinary action; the crimes exception to the statute of limitations set out in §75 of the Civil Service Law; and the admissibility of certain statements that the employee made to NYC Department of Investigation personnel that the employee’s attorney contended were obtained in violation of the employee’s constitutional rights.

Ultimately Judge Lewis found the employee guilty of other disciplinary charges and recommended the penalty of dismissal “despite [the individual’s] lack of prior disciplinary history.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://archive.citylaw.org/oath/11_Cases/11-2571.pdf

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

State Department of Education’s advisory addressing changes in Education Law §3020-a effective April 1, 2012


State Department of Education’s advisory addressing changes in Education Law §3020-a effective April 1, 2012 
Source: SDE Office of Teaching Initiatives

As part of its 2011 legislative agenda, the Board of Regents sought a number of modifications to the tenured teacher hearing process set forth in Education Law §3020-a to address spiraling costs and the extraordinary length of time to conduct hearings. This legislation was introduced in the Assembly and Senate.* The Governor’s proposed 2012-13 State Budget included some of these reforms and the State Budget as adopted by the Legislature included a number of important programmatic and fiscal reforms.

The purpose of this memorandum is to clarify and provide guidance on the major changes set forth in Education Law §3020-a.  The Department is reviewing these changes and will make conforming amendments to the regulations to implement the law.  The Department will also be updating TEACH (a web-based data information system) to allow for greater access to case information and relevant dates.  During this transitional period, the Department thanks all affected parties in advance for their patience and cooperation as we work together to ensure successful implementation of the new Education Law §3020-a reform measures.
    
Below is a summary of the major Education Law §3020-a revisions.  For specific guidance, please refer to the actual statutory language, a copy of which is posted on the Internet at:



Effective Date

The change set forth in the amendments to Education Law §3020-a take place immediately and apply to all charges against tenured educators filed with the clerk or secretary of the school district or employing board on or after April 1, 2012. 

All affected parties should be aware of this effective date and are strongly advised to carefully review these changes and how they may affect any cases currently in progress or those that are anticipated.

The parties are strongly encouraged to develop the necessary tracking systems to ensure that responsibilities are carried out in a timely and professional manner, so that no party is unduly penalized by the very stringent timelines set forth in the statute.


Prohibition on Introduction of Evidence After 125 days

A significant change is the prohibition on the introduction of evidence more than 125 days after the filing of charges unless there are extraordinary circumstances beyond control of the parties set forth in Education Law §3020-a(3)(c)(vii).  Proceedings under §3020-a have traditionally taken far too long to resolve and this provision is designed to ensure timely resolution by prohibiting the introduction of evidence beyond a certain point in the proceeding.  This means that once the charges are filed, all parties should work expeditiously and cooperatively to complete the case in a timely manner so that cases are resolved within the statutory timeline of 125 days after the filing of charges. 

After 125 days no additional evidence shall be accepted unless there are extraordinary circumstances beyond control of the parties.  The “extraordinary circumstances” rule was meant to provide for that rare occasion when evidence truly could not be introduced in a timely manner.

The Department anticipates that modifications to TEACH will help the parties easily identify the relevant dates.  Until that time, arbitrators are expected to closely monitor the relevant dates and ensure adherence.


Department Selects Arbitrator When Parties Can Not Agree

The new amendments also modify the manner in which an arbitrator is selected if the parties fail to agree on an arbitrator selection within 15 days of receipt of the list.  Education Law §3020-a(3)(b)(iii) states that  “[i]f the employing board and the employee fail to agree on an arbitrator  to serve as a hearing officer from the list of potential hearing officers, or fail to notify the commissioner of a selection  within  such  fifteen day  time  period, the commissioner shall appoint a hearing officer from the list.”  This provision authorizes the Commissioner to select the arbitrator if the parties fail to agree by the 15th day.  It does not apply to NYC where there is an alternative procedure. 

Historically, the Department only intervened when notified of the failure to agree, however, the amended language does not require the Commissioner to wait until notification of the failure to agree.  The Commissioner will be authorized to select an arbitrator if no selection is affirmatively made by the 15th day. 

To ensure that all parties get proper notice of the list, the Department will continue its current practice of emailing the list of potential arbitrators to the school attorney and the employee attorney, if one has been designated by the employee.  Where no attorney is provided by the employee, the list will be sent directly to the employee. 

A hearing officer selection will be considered timely, if it is emailed to the dedicated tenure email box (TENURE@mail.nysed.gov) by the close of business on 15th calendar day. 

To minimize any potential delays that may occur at the school district level, the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) has agreed to directly bill the school district for the production of the arbitrator list.  Schools are strongly encouraged to send the charges to the Department immediately without a check to AAA and make payment arrangements directly with AAA after the compilation of the list. AAA will take payment in the form of check or credit card for the $150 fee. 


Department Can Establish Maximum Arbitrator Rates and Study Hours

An amendment to Education Law §3020-a(3)(b)(i)(B) requires the Commissioner to establish a schedule for “maximum rates of compensation of hearing officers based on customary and reasonable fees for service as an arbitrator and provide for limitations on the number of study hours that may be claimed” (emphasis added).  The purpose of this amendment was to give the Commissioner the authority to control costs. 

Over the next several weeks, the Department will be conducting an analysis to determine both the appropriate rates and the maximum number of study hours for these types of proceedings.  Once the analysis is complete, the Commissioner will be establishing guidelines for arbitrator fees and study hours. 

All new arbitrator appointments will be contingent upon accepting the new maximum fee and study hour rates established by the Commissioner.

It is anticipated that the new TEACH modifications will incorporate changes in the manner in which arbitrator invoices are filed with the Department, to permit online filing to ensure accuracy, and improve the time it takes to process payments.


Department Can Exclude Arbitrators For Untimeliness

Pursuant to Education Law §3020-a(3)(c)(i)(B) the Department is authorized to monitor and investigate a hearing officer’s compliance with the timelines set forth in the statute. 

The Commissioner may exclude any hearing officer who has a record of continued failure to commence and conclude hearings within the timelines prescribed in the statute.
The Department anticipates that modifications to TEACH will help the parties easily identify the relevant dates.  Until that time, the Department will monitor manually. 


New Technology for Recording Hearings is Allowed

Education Law §3020-a(3)(c)(i)(D) continues the requirement that an accurate “record” of the proceedings be kept at the expense of the Department and furnished upon request to the employee and the board of education.  The statutory changes, however, permit the Department to take advantage of any new technology to transcribe or record the hearings in an accurate, reliable, efficient and cost effective manner. 

The Department will explore other cost-effective alternatives to recording and producing transcripts for these proceedings, however, there will be no immediate change to the manner in which these hearings are recorded.


Appropriation For New Cases

In order to ensure that the new reforms are successful, the law provides that any claims for cases in which charges were filed after April 1, 2012 be paid first out of the funds appropriated for the 2012-13 fiscal year pursuant to Education Law §3020-a(3)(b)(i)(A).  Total spending for 2012-13 is limited to $3.8 million.

This amendment will ensure that the Department is able to make timely payments for services rendered for new cases under the new system during 2012-13.  Thus arbitrators who accept cases under the new system with the new time constraints will be reimbursed for their services in a timely manner.  Any funds remaining will be used to pay for claims on cases that had charges filed prior to April 1, 2012. 


One Year limitation on Claims

Education Law §3020-a(3)(d) imposes a one-year limitation, following the final disposition of the hearing, for the submission of claims for reimbursement for services rendered.  The purpose of this amendment was to encourage timely submission of claims so that accurate budget assumptions can be made and claims can be paid for in a reasonable time. 

New Forms   The Education Law §3020-a forms are in the process of being updated.  It is imperative that schools use the updated forms for any cases commenced under the new system because they will reflect the new changes and provide critical information necessary to expedite the administrative steps for opening of cases and the appointment of the hearing officer.  It is anticipated that the new forms will be available within a week.  Please refer to: Teacher Tenure Hearing (3020a) for further information.


Questions

If you have any questions please contact Deborah A. Marriott, Director, Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability at 518-474-3021 or send an email to her attention at TENURE@mail.nysed.gov.

* See Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2012 for the text of the bill.

The changes are posted on the Internet at:


===================
The Discipline Book, - a concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State. This more than 1500 page e-book is now available from the Public Employment Law Press. Click on http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/ for additional information concerning this electronic reference manual.
 =======================


Disciplinary penalty imposed based, in part, the hearing officer’s reliance on an altered videotape of incident rejected


Disciplinary penalty imposed based, in part, the hearing officer’s reliance on an altered videotape of incident rejected
Principe v New York City Dept. of Educ. 94 AD3d 43

Found guilty of certain disciplinary charges, the employee appealed the termination of his employment by the New York City Department of Education. The Appellate Division granted his petition, agreeing with the holding by the Supreme Court that under the circumstances imposing the penalty of dismissal was excessive.

The Appellate Division said that it also agreed with Supreme Court’s view that “by discrediting [the teacher’s] entire testimony, the Hearing Officer failed to consider all the circumstances, including the disciplinary histories of the students involved, the context of the threatening environment in which the two incidents took place and that, at the time of the two incidents, [the teacher] was, as he testified, ‘only fulfilling [the] demands’ of his position as dean of discipline.”

Further, said the court, it appeared that the hearing officer gave “an inordinate amount of credit” to a portion of a video recording that had been altered from its original format so that it appeared frame by frame at one second intervals rather than its original format of a continuous video recorded in real time. The Appellate Division commented that this alteration to the videotape made what actually transpired during that incident unclear and equivocal.

While the Appellate Division said that it accepted the findings of the Hearing Officer's,* it agreed with Supreme Court that the evidence in this case demonstrates that the educator’s actions were not premeditated. Given all of the circumstances, including the educator’s “spotless record as a teacher for five years and his promotion to dean two years prior to the incidents at issue,” the Appellate Division decided that the penalty excessive and shocking to [its] sense of fairness, citing the Pell Doctrine [Pell v Board of Educ. Of Union Free School Dist. No. 1 of Towns of Scarsdale & Mamaroneck, Westchester County, 34 NY2d 222].

Noting that “lesser sanctions are available that would deter [the teacher] from engaging in this conduct in the future, the Appellate Division remanded the matter to the Hearing Officer for the imposition of a lesser penalty consistent with its decision.**

*

** Justices Friedman and Richter dissented in a memorandum by Justice Richter,

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
.http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_02560.htm

Monday, April 09, 2012

Employee’s dismissal overturned after court finds that the penalty of termination was so disproportionate as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness


Employee’s dismissal overturned after court finds that the penalty of termination was so disproportionate as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness
James v Hoosick Falls Cent. School Dist., 2012 NY Slip Op 02374, Appellate Division, Third Department

The Board of Education of the Hoosick Falls Central School District terminated Dennis James’ employment.after he was found guilty of disciplinary charges filed against him pursuant to Civil Service Law §75 flowing from his alleged involvement in an off-duty domestic dispute. The District's Superintendent of Schools, Kenneth A. Facin, became concerned about James’ continued presence at the school after he learned of the alleged incident and initiated the disciplinary action.

The Hearing Officer determined that James and his girlfriend had a physical altercation during which James’ girlfriend was injure and "considering the severity of the resultant injuries, nature of [James’] conduct, and the public backlash,” recommended that James be dismissed from his position. The Board adopted the Hearing Officer's findings and terminated James.

One of the first issues addressed by the Appellate Division was James’ argument that “the Hearing Officer erred in basing his determination upon substantial evidence rather than a preponderance of the evidence.”

The Appellate Division rejected this theory, citing Rosenthal v Hartnett, 36 NY2d 269. The court noted that “Although Civil Service Law §75 does not articulate a specific level of proof for the hearing level (a gap frequently filled by a provision of collective bargaining agreements), the substantial evidence standard that is generally applicable to administrative determinations applies to disciplinary matters involving public employees under the statute.

As to James’ contention that the Hearing Officer admitted into evidence a written statement prepared by an individual who did not appear at the hearing, the court said that §75(2) provides that "[c]ompliance with technical rules of evidence shall not be required" and it is settled that hearsay may be considered at hearings conducted under the statute.”

Finding that substantial evidence supported the Hearing Officer's determination, the Appellate Division said that it would defer to the Hearing Officer's credibility determinations and, “accepting those determinations, the record contains ample evidence of James’ actions to sustain the two charges.”

However, the court found merit in James’ assertion that the penalty was inconsistent with the Pell Doctrine,* arguing that “termination was so disproportionate as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness,” pointing out that James:

[1] had been employed by the District for 20 years without any prior incidents of misconduct;

[2] the misconduct in question occurred off premises; 

[3] the misconduct did not involve anyone associated with the school;

[4] James “did not hold a high profile job at the school;”

[5] the District pursued the disciplinary charges out of concern for the safety of the school, but it was conceded that no member of the school’s staff had indicated a concern about working with James; and

[6] there was no proof introduced indicating that the students at the school were in any danger because of James’ presence.

The Appellate Division said that “under these circumstances, termination is unduly disproportionate” and remitted the matter to the School District “for imposition of a less severe penalty.”

* Pell v Board of Education, 34 NY2d 222.


===================
The Discipline Book, - a concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State. This more than 1500 page e-book is now available from the Public Employment Law Press. Click on http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/ for additional information concerning this electronic reference manual.
 =======================


Payments for vacation credit upon retirement or resignation must be authorized by formal resolution by the governing body


Payments for vacation credit upon retirement or resignation must be authorized by formal resolution by the governing body

Decisions of the Commissioner of Education, Decision #11173

A board of education resolution appointing its school superintendent included a clause stating that the superintendent would "continue to receive and be eligible for all contractual benefits accrued over his years of service with the District."

When the superintendent resigned he expected to be paid for his accumulated but unused vacation credit and had submitted his resignation "subject to (his) vacation pay." The Commissioner of Education, however, ruled that this was not sufficient to overcome the need for the type of formal resolution required by §92 of the General Municipal Law.*

After holding that paying prior administrators for unused vacation could not be relied upon to support such a payment, the Commissioner concluded that the Board's resolution appointing the superintendent "is not the type of resolution contemplated by §92" as is was not "an act clearly declarative of the will of the Board...to pay any administrator cash in lieu of unused vacation." The Commissioner also ruled that the superintendent had not proved the existence of an "oral contract" to provide for such a payment.

Typically §92 is strictly construed as it expresses a statutory exception to the prohibition against gifts of public monies set out in Article VII, §7 of the State Constitution. Accordingly, the resolution authorizing expenditure such as those to "liquidate" vacation credits** must be clear and unequivocal.

Where a contract, such as one resulting from Taylor Law negotiations, provides for such payments, the prevailing view is that such payments are lawful.

* §92.1 of the General Municipal Law, in pertinent part, provides that “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any such governing board or mayor may also in like manner provide for cash payment of the monetary value of accumulated and unused vacation time or time allowances granted in lieu of overtime compensation standing to the credit of its officers and employees at the time of their separation from the service, or in case of death in service, to be paid to their beneficiaries.”

** N.B. §92.1, however, is silent with respect to the liquidation of “unused sick leave” upon separation from service or in the case of death while in service.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

A tentative collective bargaining agreement between the State and Council 82 Supervisors Unit announced


A tentative collective bargaining agreement between the State and Council 82 Supervisors Unit announced
Source: Office of the Governor

On April 5, 2012 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Council 82 Executive Director James Lyman announced a tentative contract agreement between the State and Council 82 Supervisors Unit.

The tentative contract, which is subject to ratification by unit members includes zero percent wage increases for 2011-2013 and ensures protections against layoffs, and offers health benefits commensurate with other state bargaining units. The contract provides for a 2% general salary increase in both 2014 and 2015, 9 days of deficit reduction leave, and adjustments to the health insurance premium.

The agreement follows the pattern of contracts negotiated over the past year and includes:

> A zero percent wage increases for 2011-2013; a 2% increase in both 2014 and 2015.

> The agreement includes 3% and 4% wage increases for 2009-2011; same pattern as other units that have completed negotiations for a new agreement. These increases were previously reserved for in the state financial plan.

> A $1,000 retention bonus paid out $775 in the third year and $225 in the fourth year.

> Deficit Reduction Leave (DRL) totaling nine days, saving $2.3 million. The total deduction for the days comes from the "retro pay for 2009-11."

> Employees will be repaid the value of 4 DRL days in equal installments starting at the end of the contract term.

> Retroactive payments that are scheduled to be paid in one payment this fiscal year.

· A six percent increase for health insurance premiums, making the employee share 16% for individuals and 31% for family premiums.

> A health plan opt-out so officers can opt-out through a spouse/partner to a non-State health plan.

> Members will receive broad layoff protection. However, workforce reductions due to management decisions to close or restructure facilities authorized by legislation, SAGE recommendations or material or unanticipated changes in the state's fiscal circumstances are not covered by this limitation.

Electronic books [e-books] focusing on New York State and Municipal Public Personnel Law:

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 645 page e-book 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

General Municipal Law§§ 207-a and 207-c - Disability Leave for fire, police and other public sector personnel - a 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and providing benefits thereunder. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html

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