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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Provisional employee terminated after failing two examinations for the position


Provisional employee terminated after failing two examinations for the position
Matter of the Steuben County Civil Service Commission, 113 Misc 2d 570

Subdivision 4 of §65 of the Civil Service Law provides as that "successive provisional appointments shall not be made to the same position after the expiration of the authorized period of the original provisional appointment to such position; provided, however, that where an examination for a position or group of positions fails to produce a list adequate to fill all positions then held on a provisional basis, or where such list is exhausted immediately following its establishment, a new provisional appointment may be made to any such position remaining unfilled by permanent appointment, and such new provisional appointment may, in the discretion of the appointing authority, be given to a current or former provisional appointee in such position".

When the employee failed two successive examinations for the position he held on a provisional basis, the Steuben County Civil Service Commission invoked its “Two Examination Failure” Rule and refused to approve the employee’s continuation in the position as a provisional provisional.

The Rule provided that no provisional employee who twice failed the test for the position would be given another provisional appointment unless the test failed to produce any qualified eligible or where the list was immediately exhausted. In this case the list consisted of four names, but one candidate refused appointment and a second withdrew his name from consideration.

The Commission successfully argued that further provisional appointment was not permitted because the examination did not fail to produce any qualified candidates and
the list was not exhausted.

Noting that a local commission has the discretion to adopt such a Rule, the Court suggested the employer, who “clearly was under no compulsion” to use the eligible list, would effect the purposes of the Constitution’s merit and fitness provision by appointing one of the two remaining eligibles on a provisional basis to the position.

Of course, the appointing authority could elect to make a permanent appointment from  “two-name list.”

However, if a person on eligible list is appointed to the vacancy provisionally, applying the decision in Roulett v Hempstead Civil Service Commission, 40 AD2d 611,the individual selected would automatically attain permanent status if continued in service beyond the maximum probationary period otherwise required for the position.

In Roulett the Appellate Division ruled that if a person on a nonmandatory eligible list is provisionally appointed to a vacant position, or is continued as a provisional employee after being certified for appointment from a nonmandatory list, he or she will be deemed to have been permanently appointed to the position if continued in service beyond the maximum period of probation
..

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