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Monday, October 31, 2011

Application for employment as a correction officer rejected because of a conviction of a misdemeanor


Application for employment as a correction officer rejected because of a conviction of a misdemeanor
Matter of Little v County of Westchester, 2007 NY Slip Op 00140, Decided on January 9, 2007, Appellate Division, Second Department

Kith Little was disqualified for employment as a Westchester County corrections officer because he had been earlier convicted of misdemeanors.*

He sued Rocco Pozzi, the Westchester County Commissioner of Correction, seeking a court order directing his appointment as a corrections officer. The court sustained the Commissioner’s determination that Little’s previous misdemeanor convictions rendered him unfit for the position of correction officer.

The Appellate Division said that the appointing authority has wide discretion in determining the fitness of candidates, “which discretion is particularly broad in the hiring of law enforcement officers, to whom high standards may be applied.”

Finding that Pozzi’s decision was neither irrational nor arbitrary, the court dismissed Little’s appeal.
Another case, Carchietta v Department of Personnel, 568 NYS2d 386, involved the disqualification of a candidate for appointment to police officer positions based on information revealed in the course of a pre-employment checking the applicant's background.

Carchietta was disqualified by the New York City Department of Personnel for appointment as a police officer. The Department had disqualified him on the grounds of "character" following a background investigation. According to the report, Carchietta, as a youth, had been arrested in connection with his alleged participation in the transfer of a forged prescription for illicit drugs. Apparently the Department decided that his explanation of his involvement in the incident was "questionable."

Claiming that the Department's decision to disqualify him was arbitrary and capricious, Carchietta sued. Rejecting his appeal, the Appellate Division said that Carchietta had failed to present evidentiary facts from which an inference of bad faith, illegality or arbitrary or capricious conduct can be drawn. The court said that record supported the Civil Service Commission's "exercise of its broad discretion" in disqualifying Carchietta for the position of police officer on the basis of his "character."

* Section 50.4 of the Civil Service Law permits the State Department of Civil Service or a municipal commission or personnel officer to "investigate the qualifications and background of an eligible after he [or she] has been appointed ... and upon finding facts which if known prior to appointment, would have warranted his [or her] disqualification ... direct that his [or her] employment be terminated." Except in cases of fraud, there is a three year statute of limitation on disqualifications pursuant to Section 50.4.”

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

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

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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