Best Lawblog Contest for 2017 now being conducted by The Legal Institute

From now until
September 15th, 2017, Lawblog fans can nominate their favorite blogs and bloggers for inclusion in the voting round of 2017. As in previous years, the nomination process is competitive, meaning the more nominations a blog receives, the more likely it is to be included in the public voting stage of the contest.

To access the link to the nomination form, click on:

https://www.theexpertinstitute.com/blog-contest/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=CTA&utm_campaign=blog-contest-8.14.2017-general

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A public officer may be removed from his or her office pursuant to Public Officers Law §36


A public officer of a town, village, improvement district or fire district   officer by court may be removed from his or her office pursuant to Public Officers Law §36
Becallo v Zambrano, 2015 NY Slip Op 07091, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Public Officers Law §36 was enacted to enable a town, a village, an improvement district or a fire district to remove a public officer found to be an unfaithful or dishonest public official. Paul Becallo filed a petition with the Appellate Division pursuant to §36 alleging that a town supervisor was either unfaithful or dishonest in the performance of her duties as the Town Supervisor in an effort to have the Appellate Division remove that individual from her public office.

The Town Supervisor admitted many of the factual allegations set out in Becallo’s petition, including his claim that [1] she had a romantic relationship with an employee of the engineering firm [employee] that was hired by the Town and [2] that she signed the contract with the engineering firm and approved invoices for work completed by the employee and [3] that she had used campaign funds to pay for a bulk mailing of a Town newsletter to senior citizens.

She denied, however, that her acts created a conflict of interest or constituted wrongdoing and submitted documentary evidence refuting another of Becallo’s allegation -- that she had altered the date on a shared services agreement with another Town.

The Supervisor romantic relationship with the employee began in the fall of 2011 while she was serving as a Town councilperson and at that time she had asked the Town Attorney whether there was a conflict of interest as a result of that relationship. The Town Attorney advised her in a written opinion that there was no conflict of interest and reiterated that opinion at a Town Board meeting in April 2014, when she was the serving as the Town Supervisor.

The Appellate Division also noted General Municipal Law §801 provides that "no municipal officer . . . shall have an interest in any contract with the municipality of which [she] is an officer . . . when such officer . . . has the power or duty to . . . approve the contract . . . or approve payment thereunder" but concluded that “[t]hose provisions do not apply here.”

Turning to Becallo’s allegations concerning “the financial arrangement between [the supervisor] and the employee regarding her purchase of a one-half interest in his residence,” the Appellate Division concluded that it cannot "reasonably be inferred that the [financial arrangement] was intended to influence [the supervisor], or could reasonably be expected to influence [her], in the performance of [her] official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on [her] part." The Appellate Division held that Becallo failed to establish a conflict of interest with respect to the supervisor’s personal relationship with the employee.

As to Becallo’s allegation concerning the supervisor’s use campaign funds, the Appellate Division concluded that even assuming, arguendo, the use of those funds to pay for a bulk mailing of a Town newsletter to senior citizens was improper, such an impropriety does "not remotely rise to the level required for removal pursuant to Public Officers Law §36."

Finding that Becallo’s "petition does not set forth a single act of unscrupulous conduct or intentional wrongdoing, let alone evidence of any gross dereliction of duties or a pattern of misconduct," the Appellate Division dismissed his petition.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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/

Caution:

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.

THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material in this blog is presented with the understanding that the publisher is not providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader should seek such advice from a competent professional.

Items published in NYPPL may not be used for commercial purposes without prior written permission to copy and distribute such material. Send your request via e-mail to publications@nycap.rr.com

Copyright© 1987 - 2017 by the Public Employment Law Press.



___________________



N.B. From time to time a political ad or endorsement may appear in the sidebar of this Blog. NYPPL does not have any control over such posting.

_____________________

.