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Monday, April 15, 2013

A board may not appoint one of its own members to a vacant position under it jurisdiction

A board may not appoint one of its own members to a vacant position under it jurisdiction
Fishman v Board of Educ. of S. Country Cent. Sch. Dist, 2013 NY Slip Op 02394, Appellate Division, Second Department

Roberta Fishman filed a CPLR Article 78 petition challenged a resolution of the Board of Education of the South Country Central School District appointing Gregory C. Miglino, Jr. to the position of Building Services Administrator Miglino was a then member of the Board.

Supreme Court’s ruling annulling the Board’s resolution appointing Miglino to the position. In the words of Supreme Court Justice Paul J. Baisley, "… the Court determines and declares that the Board Action in creating the position … and appointing its member and president Gregory C. Miglino, Jr. to the position was arbitrary and capricious … and accordingly is null and void.”

Miglino appealed the decision but the Appellate Division affirmed Justice Baisley's decision. The Appellate Division held that Supreme Court had correctly determined that the action of the Board in appointing one of its present members to the position of Building Services Administrator was “illegal and improper,” citing Wood v Town of Whitehall, 120 Misc 124, affd206 App Div 786.*

In Whitehall the court ruled that a board may not appoint one of its members to a position under its jurisdiction as such an action is contrary to public policy and the general welfare. Further, the Attorney General has indicated that the recusal of the member of the board to be appointed does not remedy the conflict of interests (1995 Informal Opinions of the Attorney General1074).

The Association of Towns has observed that “in the absence of a state law, local law or session law to the contrary,” a board is bound by the Whitehall doctrine.

The Whitehall decision is posted on the Internet at:

The Fishman decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_02394.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/

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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