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August 28, 2020

Removal of an individual's name from an eligible list or from his position by action of the State Department of Civil Service or by a municipal commission

§50.4 of the Civil Service Law provides for removing the name of an individual for appointment to a position in the competitive class from an eligible list or from the position if the individual was appointed from the eligible list. The New York State Department of Civil Service or a municipal civil service commission, as the case may be, on its own initiative or upon the request of an appointing authority, determine if an individual whose name appears on an eligible list, or who has been appointed from an eligible list, should be disqualified for appointment to the position.

For example, §50.4 provides that the State Department of Civil Service may refuse to examine an applicant, or after examination to certify an eligible for appointment to the position for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to:

1. The individual's lack any of the established requirements for admission to the examination or for appointment to the position; or

2. An individual who has been dismissed from a permanent appointment to position in the public service upon stated written charges of incompetency or misconduct; or

3. An individual who has intentionally made a false statement of any material fact in his application; or

4. An individual who has been dismissed from private employments because of habitually poor performance.

No person, however, may be disqualified pursuant to §50.4 unless he has been given a written statement of the reasons for such action and given an opportunity to offer an explanation and to submit facts in opposition to such disqualification.

Further, no person may be removed from his position based on findings made after an investigation of his qualifications and background more than three years after he has been appointed from the list because of finding of facts which if known prior to appointment, would have warranted his disqualification or upon a finding of "illegality, irregularity or fraud of a substantial nature" in his application, examination or appointment, except in the case of fraud.

For example, an employee removed from his position pursuant to §50.4 by the Personnel Officer and Director of Wayne County Civil Service Commission after a making a finding that the employee had “intentionally made false statements of material facts in his application or (had) attempted to practice (a) deception or fraud in his application” based on its finding that the employee had falsified his application with respect to his experience as a police officer and concealed facts related to his separation from a previous employment.

Although the employee sued, contending he could not be removed from his position without first being given an administrative due process hearing, the Appellate Division disagreed.*

The Appellate Division opined that "petitioner was accorded his full right to explain his conduct," and that he was not entitled to a hearing, citing Matter of Shraeder v Kern, 287 N.Y. 13. In the words of the Appellate Division, §50.4 “requires no more than that the person be given a written statement of the reasons therefore and afforded an opportunity to make explanation and to submit facts in opposition to such disqualification.”

* 78 A.D.2d 984, affirmed 55 NY2d 1019.


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New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. 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 posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor NYPPL and, or, its staff and contributors are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
New York Public Personnel Law. Email: publications@nycap.rr.com