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December 22, 2011

Court upholds appointing authority's rejection of hearing officer findings concerning employee's residence


Court upholds appointing authority's rejection of hearing officer findings concerning employee's residence
In the Matter of Linda Ziehm, 90 A.D.2d 677, Affd, 59 N.Y.2d 757

When the Commissioner of Administration rejected a hearing officer’s recommendation that an employee be reinstated to her position, the Union sued on behalf of the employee.

The case arose following the finding by the Commissioner that Ziehm (who was now living in Lackawanna) had forfeited her position by failing to maintain a permanent residence in the City of Buffalo (Buffalo City Ordinance, Chapter 1, Section 4,).

The question before the hearing officer was whether Ziehm came within the provisions of a Taylor Law contact which excused “any employees presently living outside the City” (adopted effective January 1, 1977) from the requirements of the Ordinance.

Although the hearing officer found that she was living outside the City on January 1, the Commissioner held that she was a resident of the City on that date. This determination made the contact provision inapplicable to her.

The Appellate Division concluded that the record contained substantial evidence affording a rational basis for the Commissioner’s finding that Ziehm was a City resident from 1973 until June 1979 and that she did not qualify for the exemption contained in the collective bargaining agreement and upheld his determination.

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