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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New York City Civil Service Commission’s determination that an applicant is qualified for the position sought affirmed


New York City Civil Service Commission’s determination that an applicant is qualified for the position sought affirmed
In the Application of The City of New York and Martha K. Hirst, As Commissioner of the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services, 2008 NY Slip Op 32509(U), Supreme Court, New York County, Docket Number: 0400925/2008, Judge: Lewis Bart Stone [Not selected for publication in the Official Reports]

In this action, New York City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services [Administrative Services] as the court to review the City Civil Service Commission’s [CSC] decision that an applicant for the position of Assistant Engineer was qualified for appointment to this title.

The applicant had been educated in Minsk, Belarus and had completed a combined undergraduate curriculum for the degree of Specialist in Civil Engineering with a specialization in Water Supply and Sewage Systems in 1974. Administrative Services had rejected her application on the grounds that she was not qualified for the position because she did not meet the qualifications set out in the Examination Announcement.

CSC held an “evidentiary hearing” an ultimately determined that the applicant was qualified for the position, ruling that the course work completed by the applicant is equivalent to the curriculum outlined for a baccalaureate degree in Environmental Engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the curriculum outlined by Manhattan College for a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering.

Administrative Services appealed, contending that CSC had “acted arbitrarily and capriciously and abused its discretion” in qualifying the applicant for the position.

Justice Stone said that the hearing record shows that Administrative Services “relied on a consultant’s evaluation” of the applicant’s educational transcript to find a lack of equivalency, and that CSC made its own factual evaluation of equivalency based on the applicant’s transcript in light of curricula in New York colleges.

The problem of equivalency, CSC noted, is that engineering disciplines overlap. Accordingly, said the court, inquiry into the meaning of the applicant’s educational courses and relating their equivalency to modern environmental curricula is hardly arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion in this context.

Justice Stone dismissed Administrative Service’s appeal, ruling “Whether this Court would have made the same decision on the facts as [the Commission] did is not relevant. What is relevant is that [the Commission] made an inquiry and reviewed the material submitted to it and made its Decision on the facts of equivalency, a determination that is neither arbitrary, capricious or ai1 abuse of discretion.

The full text of the decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/pdfs/2008/2008_32509.pdf

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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