Independent determination needed by town board
Ross v. Town Board of the Town of Ramapo, 78 A.D.2d 656
A police officer was injured in a fall. His application for an accidental disability retirement allowance under the Retirement and Social Security Law was denied by the Retirement System. The Town of Ramapo continued to pay the officer’s full salary (see Section 207-a, General Municipal Law) until the Town Board passed a resolution terminating the employment almost four years later.
The Board had relied upon the determination by the Retirement System that the injury was not service related. The Court ordered the police officer reinstated, holding the Board’s action did not provide the required due process.
The critical issue appears to be that the Retirement System had not made a “final determination” and the Board would have to make an independent determination as to the job-relatedness of the injury. The Court said “(the Board cannot) deny these (Section 207-a) benefits...based upon the finding of another State agency ... not yet final and which is predicated upon a different standard of proof”.
The decision in Economico (50 NY2d 120) was distinguished in this case. In Economico the injury involved was conceded not to be service related. This decision suggests that the employer must take independent action to remove a police officer from the payroll when it believes that the injury was not service related within the meaning of Section 207-a.