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January 03, 2013

Only the employees of the public employer, a union acting on their behalf or the public employer itself may intervene in an improper action pending before PERB


Only the employees of the public employer, a union acting on their behalf or the public employer itself may intervene in an improper action pending before PERB
City of New York v New York State Pub. Empl. Relations Bd., 2012 NY Slip Op 09130, Appellate Division, Third Department

The State’s Public Employment Relations Board found that the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York [Board] committed an improper employer practice in response to a complaint filed by the union representing certain employees employed by the Board. The union had alleged that the Board unilaterally changed a condition of employment by eliminating the automatic granting of parking permits after the City adopted a new plan aimed at reducing traffic congestion in the City. 

The City of New York filed a petition in Supreme Court seeking an annulment of PERB's decision. PERB counterclaimed seeking enforcement of its remedial order. Supreme Court dismissed the City’s petition and granted PERB's counterclaim.

Addressing a “procedural issue,” the Appellate Division, noting that PERB's order did not make any findings against the City nor did it order the City to do anything, ruled that the City did not have standing to commence a proceeding seeking to annul PERB's decision. Thus, said the court, Supreme Court properly dismissed that the petition brought by the City, explaining that the City and the Board are separate legal entities.

Further, said the court, the City was not a party to the PERB proceeding and although it was argued that “the City could have intervened,” the court noted that PERB’s regulations only permit intervention by public employees, a union acting on their behalf or the public employer, citing 4 NYCRR 212.1 [a]. In this instance, said the court, the relevant employer was the Board and not the City of New York.

As to PERB’s ruling concerning the merits of the alleged improper practice charge filed against the Board, the Appellate Division considered Board’s argument that it had no control over changes with respect to parking that was imposed upon it by the City and therefore had no power to negotiate anything regarding this parking permit situation.

Conceding that the power to regulate traffic and parking on city streets is expressly delegated to the City, the Appellate Division said that the relevant questions for it to address were [1] did the Board had any control over the change in producing and distributing parking permits and [2] did PERB intruded on an area under the authority of the City or its Department of Transportation [DOT].

The Appellate Division’s answer: it agreed with PERB that the Board did have control over some aspects of the new parking permit situation as DOT produced and provided to Board 10,007 site-specific placards and 1,000 three-hour permits for on-street parking and did not have any oversight responsibilities as to the distribution of such placards and permits.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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