The Civil Service Employees Association, Inc. [CSEA] sued the Public Employment Relations Board [PERB], challenging a PERB determination designating eight New York State Dormitory Authority [DASNY] employees as managerial within the meaning of Civil Service Law §201(7)(a), the Taylor Law.*
The Appellate Division stated that the scope of its review was limited to determining if PERB’s determination was arbitrary and capricious. It then pointed out that in Lippman v Public Empl. Relations Bd., 263 AD2d 891, it had ruled that courts may defer to PERB's exposition of the terms "management" and "confidential" as they are employed in Civil Service Law §201(7)(a).
A PERB decision clarified the meaning of the phrase "formulated policy."** That ruling indicated that the phrase “formulated policy” must be "sufficiently broad" to include "persons who regularly participate in and influence a process by which the employer makes decisions regarding its mission and the means by which those policy goals and objectives can be best achieved."
The Appellate Division concluded that in this instance PERB's determination designating the eight employees as managerial was neither unreasonable nor arbitrary, noting that all of the job titles at issue were within the Office of Construction, one of the five main divisions headed by managing directors that report directly to the Authority’s executive officers and board.
Consistent with PERB's conclusion that "the organizational structure of DASNY promotes participation in the decision-making process that is more than mere technical advice to single decision-makers," the Appellate Division ruled that although "exclusions for managerial . . . employees are an exception to the Taylor Law's strong policy of extending coverage to all public employees," given the evidence presented PERB's classification of the employees as managerial was neither arbitrary nor capricious.
* Employees designated as either managerial or confidential are excluded from the definition of "public employees" and, as such, are not afforded various benefits provided under the Taylor Law (see Civil Service Law §200 et seq.) with respect to representation for the purposes of collective bargaining. Civil Service Law §201(7)(a) provides: "Employees may be designated as managerial only if they are persons (i) who formulate policy or (ii) who may reasonably be required on behalf of the public employer to assist directly in the preparation for and conduct of collective negotiations or to have a major role in the administration of agreements or in personnel administration provided that such role is not of a routine or clerical nature and requires the exercise of independent judgment."