A candidate improperly disqualified for appointment from the eligible list does not have a right to be appointed to the title in the event he or she successfully challenges the disqualification
2013 NY Slip Op 07250, Appellate Division, First Department
An individual seeking an appointment as a New York City Correction Officer [Candidate] filed an administrative appeal challenging the removal of his name from the eligible list. He successfully argued that he had been improperly disqualified for the appointment and his name was again placed on the eligible list for appointment.
However, Candidate’s claim that his winning the administrative appeal “entitled him to an appointment as a correction officer” was rejected by Supreme Court.
The Appellate Division agreed.
Restoring the name of a candidate to an eligible list, even one improperly earlier removed from the list, does not obviate the application of the so-called Rule of Three, Civil Service Law §61(1). The Rule of Three authorizes the appointing authority to select of any one of three persons with the highest rankings on an eligible list willing to accept the appointment or promotion.
In the event there are more that three eligibles certified for appointment because of “tied-scores,” the appointing authority may select any one of the eligibles certified to it.
For example, in the event one candidate had a score of 95, a second candidate had a score of 90 and 20 candidates had a score of 85, the names of all 22 eligibles would be certified for appointment and the appointing authority could select any one of the 22 individuals so certified for the appointment.
In contrast, had there been 20 eligibles with a score of 95, one eligible with a score of 90 and one eligible with a score of 85, the appointing authority could select any on of the 20 candidates certified have a score of 95 but could not “reach” either the candidate with a score of 90 or with a score of 85 unless there were 18 or 19 "declinations" of the offer of appointment, as the case may be, among those eligibles attaining a score of 95..
In some instances, a collective bargaining agreement negotiated pursuant to the Taylor Law [Civil Service Law Article 14] may require the appointing authority to observe the “Rule of the List” or “The Rule of One,”* and appoint the person whose name is listed first on the certification.
As the Court of Appeals held in Cassidy v Municipal Civil Service Commission of City of New Rochelle, 37 N.Y.2d 526, Civil Service Law §61(1) grants the appointing authority broad discretion in the selection of candidates, including that of appointing a lower-scoring candidate over a higher-scoring one.
However, should the appointing authority be faced with a mandatory eligible list, it must either select one of those certified to it as standing highest on the eligible list within the meaning of the Rule of Three or elect to keep the position vacant.
Another issue considered by the Appellate Division in Candidate’s appeal focused on the refusal of DOC to have the circumstances underlying Candidate’s not being appointed to the position expunged from the record before DOC as well as expunging that portion of DOC’s record that indicated that that it did not to appoint him notwithstanding his name being restored to the eligible list and considering him, along with other eligibles, for appointment on three occasions.
The Appellate Division ruled that DOC’s rejection of Candidate’s request to expunge the material to which he objected from his record was neither arbitrary nor capricious and dismissed his appeal.
* Preferred and special military lists are subject to the “Rule of One” by operation of law. In this instance the appointing authority must either appoint the persons whose name is certified as "first" on the preferred or special military list or elect to keep the position vacant.
The DOC decision is posted on the Internet at:http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_07250.htm