Kaslow v City of New York, 2013 NY Slip Op 00210, Appellate Division, Second Department
In this CPLR Article 78 proceeding David Kaslow asked Supreme Court to review a determination of the New York City Employees' Retirement System [NYCERS].
Kaslow had retired from employment with the New York City Department of Correction [DOC]. NYCERS however, had denied his request for service credit for his prior employment with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] for purposes of determining his retirement allowance.
While Kaslow had contended that he was entitled to service credit for his prior employment with DEP, NYCERS said that in accordance with Retirement and Social Security Law §504-a, Kaslow, as a member of the Tier 3 CO-20 retirement plan, was not entitled to service credit for his civilian service with DEP prior to his employment with DOC.
Supreme Court granted Kaslow’s petition, holding that his service with the City's Department of Environmental Protection should have been credited. NYCERS and the City of New York appealed the court’s ruling.
The Appellate Division, noting that "An agency's interpretation of the statutes and regulations that it administers must be given great weight and judicial deference, so long as the interpretation is neither irrational, unreasonable nor inconsistent with the governing statute,'" said that in the event the question is one of pure legal interpretation of statutory terms, “deference to the agency is not required."
In this instance, said the court, NYCERS's interpretation of the term "credited service," was irrational, unreasonable, and inconsistent with the other applicable statutes governing the retirement benefits of officers employed with the DOC.
Accordingly, and under the circumstances presented in this instance, the Appellate Division concluded that for purposes of determining Kaslow retirement allowance upon his retirement from DOC, his creditable civilian service with DEP should have been included in NYCERS's calculation of his benefits, and, thus, Supreme Court had properly granted Kaslow’s petition.
The decision is posted on the Internet at:http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_00210.htm