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Saturday, February 25, 2017

The provisions of a contract between the parties held to control the number of days of accumulated vacation leave credits to be paid the employee upon his or her separation from service


The provisions of a contract between the parties held to control the number of days of accumulated vacation leave credits to be paid the employee upon his or her separation from service  
Wilson v Poughkeepsie City School Dist., 2017 NY Slip Op 01404, Appellate Division, Second Department

Former Poughkeepsie School Superintendent Laval Wilson sued the Poughkeepsie City School District [Poughkeepsie] for breach of contract when it refused to pay him for certain accumulated vacation leave credits that Wilson alleged was due him when left the employ of the school district.

Paragraph 8(b) of Wilson's employment contract with Poughkeepsie permitted him to accumulate "up to a total of fifteen (15)" days of vacation leave. However, another provision in the contract provided that Wilson could "carry over ... 5 vacation days per year."

Although Poughkeepsie paid Wilson for his 15 accumulated vacation days when he left its employ, Wilson contended that he was also entitled to be paid for an additional 22 days of accumulated vacation credit attributed to his "carry over" of certain vacation days while employed by Poughkeepsie and thus he was due payment for a total of 37 accumulated vacation days at the rate of $920 per day. Accordingly, Wilson claimed that Poughkeepsie still owed him $20,240 ($920 x 22 days).

Poughkeepsie, on the other hand, argued that the contract provided that Wilson was entitled to a specified number of paid vacation days each year, which accrued on a monthly basis, and upon leaving employment with the school district after three years of employment, he would be paid for his accumulated vacation days not to exceed a total of fifteen days of vacation credit accruals.

The Appellate Division agreed with Poughkeepsie's interpretation of the contract between the parties, explaining that in its view:

1. Paragraph 8(b) of the contract between the parties set a 15 day limit on the amount of vacation credit Wilson could accumulate.

2. Although another clause in the contract specified that Wilson could "carry over"  a maximum number of vacation days - five days - per year, the 15-day limit in paragraph 8(b) did not include any reference to a particular time frame and thus barred Wilson from accumulating more than 15 paid vacation days during the entire course of his employment..

The Appellate Division said that a contract is to be construed in accordance with the parties' intent, which is "generally discerned from the four corners of the document itself." Here, said the court, the contract barred Wilson from accumulating more than 15 paid vacation days during the entire course of his employment and held that Wilson’s claim that he was entitled to be paid for a total of 37 vacation days when he left his position with Poughkeepsie “is utterly refuted by the unambiguous terms of the contract.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Selected reports and information published by New York State's Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli during the week ending February 18, 2017


Selected reports and information published by New York State's Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli during the week ending February 18, 2017
Source: Office of the State Comptroller

Click on text highlighted in color  to access the full report


New York's Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Fixing

New York's water systems may require nearly $40 billion in repairs and improvements over the next two decades, according to a report issued by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.


DiNapoli Appoints Government Relations Staff

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced he has named Erin Stevens as deputy comptroller for Intergovernmental and Community Affairs, Christina Baal-Owens as director of Community Affairs, and Tad Mack as the regional director for the Finger Lakes.


DiNapoli to Audit Hempstead IDA, Valley Stream School District in Wake of Controversial Development Project

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced his office will audit the Hempstead Industrial Development Agency and Valley Stream Union Free School District 30. The audits will be conducted in response to multiple requests his office received related to approval of the Green Acres Mall project in Hempstead.


Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced his office completed audits of the





Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Do Civil Service Rules need to be reformed?

Do Civil Service Rules need to be reformed?
Source: Today's Government News

In an article posted on the Internet by Today's Government News, Contributor Howard Risher observes that "The states with the highest levels of active disengagement -- workers who are so unhappy at work that they 'undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish,'" as Gallup put it in a recent study -- "are Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and my home state of Pennsylvania."

Mr. Risher then asks: “Are Civil-Service Rules the Enemy of Employee Engagement?” noting that “At every level of government, problem employees receive far more attention than those who make significant contributions.”

Mr. Risher's article is posted on the Internet at:

http://www.governing.com/columns/smart-mgmt/col-civil-service-rules-public-employee-engagement.html?utm_term=Are%20Civil-Service%20Rules%20the%20Enemy%20of%20Employee%20Engagement&utm_campaign=Leaked%20Trump%20Order%20Targets%20Legal%20Immigrants%20Who%20Use%20Government%20Benefits&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email



Friday, February 10, 2017

Executive Order threatens cuts to federal funding of any jurisdiction that refuses to hold individuals for possible deportation


Executive Order threatens cuts of federal funding of any jurisdiction that refuses to hold individuals for possible deportation
Source: Governing the States and Localities - Public Safety and Justice, February 10, 2017

"President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 25, 2017 promising to punish any 'sanctuary jurisdictions' that 'attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.' The order threatened cuts to federal funding and public shaming of 'any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers.'”

On the other hand, some involved in law enforcement who operate jails have liability concerns and many will not honor detaining orders without a warrant signed by a judge.

The Public Safety and Justice article is posted on the Internet at:

The Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, is posted on the Internet at:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/25/presidential-executive-order-enhancing-public-safety-interior-united



Monday, February 06, 2017

Police detective who did not properly discharge his duties not entitled to a defense or indemnification by the employer in a lawsuit in which he or she is a defendant


Police detective who did not properly discharge his duties not entitled to a defense or indemnification by the employer in a lawsuit in which he or she is a defendant
2017 NY Slip Op 00649, Appellate Division, Second Department

General Municipal Law §50-l provides that "Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, code or charter, the county of Nassau shall provide for the defense of any civil action or proceeding brought against a duly appointed police officer of the Nassau county police department and shall indemnify and save harmless such police officer from any judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction whenever such action, proceeding or judgment is for damages, including punitive or exemplary damages, arising out of a negligent act or other tort of such police officer committed while in the proper discharge of his duties and within the scope of his employment. Such proper discharge and scope shall be determined by a majority vote of a panel consisting of one member appointed by the Nassau county board of supervisors, one member appointed by the Nassau county executive, and the third member being the Nassau county police commissioner or a deputy police commissioner."

The Nassau County Police Officer Indemnification Board determined that a Nassau County Police Detective was not entitled to a defense or to indemnification pursuant to General Municipal Law §50-l in a federal action civil rights action in which he was named a defendant. Supreme Court sustained the Board’s decision and the Detective appealed.

The Board had determined that the Detective had failed to notify anyone that an individual who had been arrested and held in jail for four months before he was arraigned could not possibly have committed the robbery for which he was charged because he was incarcerated on the day of the robbery. This failure, said the Board, was not "committed while in the proper discharge of his duties."

The Appellate Division said that the Board’s decision was supported by the facts and was not arbitrary and capricious. Further, said the Appellate Division, a court "may not substitute its judgment for that of the agency responsible for making the determination, but must ascertain only whether there is a rational basis for the decision or whether it is arbitrary and capricious."

Accordingly, the Appellate Division found that Supreme Court had properly denied the Detective’s petition and had properly dismissed the action the Detective had brought pursuant to CPLR Article 78.

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/

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