Thursday, May 17, 2012

Legislative approval of a grievance settlement that does not change the terms and conditions of controlling Taylor Law contract is not required


Legislative approval of a grievance settlement that does not change the terms and conditions of controlling Taylor Law contract is not required
Patrolmen's Benevolent Assn. of City of Long Beach, Inc. v City of Long Beach,
57 AD3d 499

This litigation involved efforts by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association [PBA] to enforce three stipulations executed by the parties in settlement of three grievances initiated by the PBA pursuant to the terms of its collective bargaining agreement with the City of Long Beach. The three grievances initiated by the PBA on behalf of its members concerned sick leave retirement computations, night differential pay calculations, and a disciplinary action that had been brought against 17 of its members.

In response to the PBA’s inquiry concerning the City's compliance with the terms of one of the settlement agreements, the City indicated that it regarded all three underlying grievances as still pending. The reason offered by the City in support of its views: The City Council had never approved the settlements and thus they were not binding on the parties.

The PBA, seeking to enforce the terms of the stipulations and agreements, sued and won a decision by Supreme Court holding the stipulations and agreements were legally binding and enforceable as between the parties. The City was directed by Supreme Court to abide by the terms of the settlement agreements. Long Beach appealed, only to have the Appellate Division affirm the Supreme Court’s ruling.

As to the City’s claim that approval by the City Council was required to bind the parties, the Appellate Division said that the Court of Appeals in Board of Education for City School District of City of Buffalo v Buffalo Teachers Federation, 89 NY2d 370, made it clear that “the Taylor Law does not by its terms 'vary or extend the instances in which legislative approval is necessary and does not create a necessity for action by a legislative body where it does not otherwise exist.'" Here, said the court, Long Beach "has not identified any further legislative action that it must perform under the pertinent statutes" as a condition to the approval of the three stipulations settling the PBA’s grievances.

The Appellate Division also noted the past practice of the parties of executing similar stipulations resolving PBA grievances by the City Manager and the President of the PBA without any need for City Council ratification.

Further, the decision notes, the stipulations and agreements involved do not alter or amend the language of the controlling collective bargaining agreement so as to trigger the need for legislative approval. Rather, said the court, “they represented agreements between the parties on how they would interpret certain CBA provisions.” Therefore, “no City Council approval was needed in order for the stipulations and agreements to bind the parties.”

The full text of the decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2008/2008_09573.htm

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/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions 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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