The Town, cited the Town of Wallkill ruling in support of its initiating disciplinary action against a town police officer pursuant to the Town’s local law, asked Supreme Court to grant its petition to stay submitting the matter to arbitration based on the Town’s representation that it had, pursuant to the authority provided under Town Law §155, supplanted ”the disciplinary procedure laid out in Article 13 of the CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement] with the disciplinary procedure set forth in Local Law No. 1 of 2013.”*
The court agreed, holding that Article 13 of the CBA is null and void and the procedures set forth in the Town's Local Law, not those of the CBA, govern police discipline in the Town and the Town's Local Law controls with respect to the disciplinary charges brought against police officers following enactment of the Local Law, provided those charges were timely brought.
The PBA then move to have the disciplinary charges filed against the police officer dismiss, contending that they were untimely, pointing out that Town Law §155 provides that disciplinary charges "shall not be brought more than sixty days after the time when the facts upon which such charges are based are known to the town board."
The PBA contend that the Town had knowledge of the facts underlying the charges more than 60 days prior to the charges being served on the police officer.**
In rebuttal the Town argued that the issue of timeliness of the disciplinary charges was not properly before the court. The Town also contended that, in any event, Local Law No.1 of 2013 "did not supplant the eighteen-month limitation period in the CBA agreement; it merely altered the process of noticing and hearing discipline, i.e., substituted a hearing officer for arbitrators and provided that the Town Board make the final determination."
The court agreed with the PBA, noting the statute of limitations set out in the Town Law §155 whereby disciplinary charges "shall not be brought more than sixty days after the time when the facts upon which such charges are based are known to the town board."
Here, said the court, “having successfully eliminated the arbitration provisions from the CBA, the Town cannot extend the principles that derive from arbitration agreements to its local law and decree that the question of timeliness is to be determined by the Town Board or a hearing officer selected by the Town Board. Thus, in the absence of an arbitration agreement on the issue, the timeliness of the Town's disciplinary charges is an issue for the Court to determine.
Accordingly, Supreme Court ruled that the Town’s action in bringing disciplinary action against the police officer was untimely.
The decision is posted on the Internet at:http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_23365.htm