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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Broadbanding of positions

Broadbanding of positions
Ensley v Diamond, 258 AD2d 263, Leave to appeal denied 93 NY2d 814

The Ensley case contrasts two different position classification concepts: (1) “reclassification” of positions and (2) “broadbanding” of positions.

According to Charles Ensley, the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services' Resolution 98-12, adopted on November 12, 1998, reclassified a number of existing positions. He contended that the resolution was null and void because the City failed to comply with Section 20 of the Civil Service Law before adopting the resolution.

The city, on the other hand, argued that it had not reclassified any position but had, instead, “created new titles, each of which encompassed more than one assignment.” The Appellate Division, First Department, in its decision, characterized the city's action challenged by Ensley as “broadbanding.”*

First, some background: Section 20.1 of the Civil Service Law requires each municipal commission to adopt rules “for the jurisdictional classification of positions” and “for the position classification of such offices and employment....”

Section 20.2 makes such rules, and any amendment to such rules, subject to a public hearing and the approval of the State Civil Service Commission.

Unless placed in a different jurisdictional class by the legislature, all positions in the classified service are automatically in the competitive class. Jurisdiction classification concerns the placement of a position in a different jurisdictional class: the exempt, noncompetitive or labor class.

In contrast, position classification of positions is based on the duties and qualification to be performed by the incumbent. A position is reclassified when it is determined that the actual duties being performed are substantially different from those initially set out as the “job description” that recites the duties of the position.

Reclassification is commonly used to correct “out-of-title” work situations or to reflect basic changes in the duties and responsibilities of the position in general or an individual in particular. Reclassification may, or may not, involve a change in the salary grade to which the position is allocated.

The Appellate Division decided that Ensley failed to prove that the city's action in adopting Resolution 98-12 involved the “reclassification” of positions. It then described the city's action as involving the broadbanding, rather than the reclassification, of positions. Having reached this conclusion, it sustained the Supreme Court's dismissal of Ensley's petition.

The court described broadbanding as an action involving the consolidation of assignments under the same title, with no additional examinations required to move between assignments within the title. As to the legal basis for broadbanding, the Appellate Division said that broadbanding was permitted under the Civil Service Law, citing Kitchings v Jenkins, 85 NY2d 694, as authority for this conclusion.

 * In a different context, the term "broadbanding" is sometimes used to describe the process of "zone scoring" a written test.

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

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A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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