Procedural errors and omissions require the remanding the decision terminating plaintiff employees for further consideration
Four former employees of the City challenged the City’s terminating their employment.
Supreme Court referred the issues of the employees' "employment status at the time of their termination and . ... whether any of them were required to exhaust any administrative remedies under the Civil Service Law prior to commencing this Article 78 proceeding" to a Judicial Hearing Officer (JHO).
The JHO issued a determination holding that “none of the employees had a right to a post-termination [sic] hearing under the Civil Service Law.” Accordingly, said the JHO, none of the employees had any duty to exhaust administrative remedies. The JHO also found that none of the employees was a policymaking employee and, thus, that they could not be fired merely for political reasons and further ruled that all four had been dismissed from their positions with the City for political reasons.
The City filed "objections" to the JHO's determination.
Specifically, the City objected to the JHO's determination that none of the employees was a policymaking employee. Additionally, the City asserted that the JHO went beyond the scope of the order of reference by determining that the employees were fired for political reasons.
The Appellate Division remitted the employees' petition to Supreme Court, explaining:
1. The challenged determinations, relating to the termination of the employees' employment, were not "made as a result of a hearing."
2. The administrative record was not sufficient for it to decide the entire proceeding on the merits in the interest of judicial economy.
3. Any motion for reconsideration of the substantive issues decided by the JHO must be directed to the JHO for resolution.
The decision is posted on the Internet at:http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_06953.htm