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December 02, 2015

Follow-up - OGS successfully auctioned two seized luxury cars


Follow-up - OGS successfully auctioned two seized luxury cars
Source: Office of General Services

On November 27, 2015 NYPPL posted an item captioned Another ‘Black Friday’ opportunity – New York State to auction two seized luxury cars at December 1, 2015 vehicle and equipment auction in Albany.”

The Office of General Services reports that both luxury cars were successfully auctioned on Tuesday, December 1, 2015.

The high bid for the Audi was $40,000, and the high bid for the Mercedes-Benz was $113,000.


Terminating an employee while he or she is on Workers’ Compensation Leave pursuant to Civil Service Law §71


Terminating an employee while he or she is on Workers’ Compensation Leave pursuant to Civil Service Law §71
Still v City of Middletown, 2015 NY Slip Op 08741, Appellate Division, Second Department

After Terri Still had been absent from her position on Workers’ Compensation Law pursuant to §71 of the Civil Service Law for one than one year,* her employer, the City of Middletown, advised her that she would be terminated from her position.**

Prior to the effective date of Still’s termination, however, the City scheduled a meeting with Still and gave her an opportunity to present any evidence as to why the City should not proceed with the termination of her employment. Still failed to show that she was medically fit to return to work, with or without a reasonable accommodation, and she was terminated.

Still then initiated an Article 78 action challenging her termination. Supreme Court, Orange County, denied her petition, in effect dismissed the proceeding, and Still appealed the court’s ruling.

The Appellate Division sustained the Supreme Court’s determination, explaining that the standard of judicial review in this instance was whether the appointing authority’s action was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, in violation of lawful procedure, or affected by an error of law.  

Under the circumstances, said the court, "the City's decision to terminate [Still’s] employment was not arbitrary or capricious, an abuse of discretion, in violation of lawful procedure, or affected by an error of law."

N. B. An individual unable to perform the duties of his or her position due to an injury or disease that is not “job related” and which did not result in a permanent disability is entitled to be placed on leave without pay pursuant to §72 of the Civil Service Law -- Leave  for  Ordinary  Disability -- for at least one year. Such an individual may be  terminated from his or her position pursuant to §73 of the Civil Service Law after one year of such leave at the discretion of the appointing authority.

* An employee sustaining a disability resulting from an assault suffered in the course of his or her employment is entitled to a leave of absence for at least two years unless his or her disability is of such a nature as to permanently incapacitate him or her for the performance of the duties of his or her position.

** Termination from Workers’ Compensation Leave pursuant to CSL §71 is not pejorative in nature and the individual may, within one year after the termination of his or her disability, file an application with the civil service department or municipal commission having jurisdiction for reinstatement to his or her former position and is to be reinstated if then found qualified to resume the duties of his or her former position. If the position, or a similar position, is not available, the name of the individual is to be placed on a preferred list in accordance with §80 or §80-A of the Civil Service Law.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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Disability Leave for fire, police and other public sector personnel - a 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law §§207-a/207-c and other laws, rules, regulations and court decisions addressing disability and similar leaves absence. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/3916.html
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Teacher seeking unemployment insurance benefits between school years found ineligible to receive benefits because she had a reasonable assurance of continued employment


Teacher seeking unemployment insurance benefits between school years found ineligible to receive benefits because she had a reasonable assurance of continued employment
Matter of Vazquez (Commissioner of Labor), 2015 NY Slip Op 08234, Appellate Division, Third Department

Ana M. Vazquez worked as a substitute teacher for the New York City Department of Education (DOE) during the 2013-2014 academic school year. Prior to the close of the academic school year DOE notified Vazquez, in writing, that it anticipated the same need for substitute teachers going forward into the 2014-2015 academic school year and that the terms and conditions of her employment would remain substantially the same.

Vazquez, after confirming that she received this letter, applied for unemployment insurance benefits. The Department of Labor found that she was ineligible to receive such benefits because she had received a reasonable assurance of continued employment during the 2014-2015 academic year. This determination of ineligibility was sustained by an Administrative Law Judge [ALJ]  following a hearing and later by the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. Vazquez appealed the Board’s determination.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Board’s ruling, noting that Labor Law §590(10), bars professionals who are employed by educational institutions from receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the period between two successive academic periods if they have received a reasonable assurance of continued employment*.

The court said that in the course of the administrative hearing before the ALJ DOE’s representative stated that Vazquez had worked 169 out of a total of 180 days during the 2013-2014 academic school year at a rate of $154.97 per day and indicated that Vazquez’s per diem rate would be $158.09 during the 2014-2015 academic school year. DOE’s representative also indicated that he anticipated that Vazquez would receive the same amount of work during the 2014-2015 academic school year because the DOE was not under any budgetary constraints.

The Appellate Division concluded that DOE correspondence to Vazquez advising her of the continued need for substitute teachers during the 2014-2015 academic year on substantially the same economic terms and conditions that were offered the year before constituted “substantial evidence” supporting the Board's conclusion that Vazquez had received a reasonable assurance of continued employment and was, therefore, ineligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits between the two school years.

* "A reasonable assurance of continued employment" has been interpreted to have been satisfied by  a representation by the employer that substantially the same economic terms and conditions will continue to apply to the extent that the claimant would receive at least 90% of the earnings received during the first academic period during the second academic year.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

December 01, 2015

Navigating the Digital Age, The Definitive Cybersecurity Guide for Directors and Officers


Navigating the Digital Age, The Definitive Cybersecurity Guide for Directors and Officers
A publication of Palo Alto Networks, Inc. and the New York Stock Exchange

Palo Alto Networks Inc. CEO Mark McLaughlin, noting thatFrequent headlines announcing the latest cyber breach of a major company, government agency, or organization are the norm today, begging the questions of why and will it ever end?”, asks "Prevention: Can it be done?"

In 46 essays by experts in the field, this 355 page handbook covers many of the security issues facing the public and private sectors and provides “practical, actionable and expert advice on best practices for compliance, implementation, breach prevention and immediate response tactics.”

Palo Alto Networks, Inc. has made this publication available without charge through its website. To download a copy, go to:


Commissioner of Education lacks jurisdiction to review if reports of alleged child abuse by school administrators are made consistent with the Social Services Law


Commissioner of Education lacks jurisdiction to review if reports of alleged child abuse by school administrators are made consistent with the Social Services Law
Appeal of M.I.B., on behalf of his son, from actions of the Board of Education of the Tuxedo Union Free School District regarding reports of child abuse. Decisions of the Commissioner of Education, Decision No. 16,847

In this appeal M.I.B. challenged Tuxedo Union Free School District’s [Tuxedo] staff members filing, on at least three separate occasions, reports of suspected child abuse involving M.I.B.’s family with New York State Department of Social Services' Child Protective Services [CPS].

M.I.B. said that while he understood a school district had a duty to report any such abuse to CPS, the filing of “incorrect complaints on a regular basis” violated the law and asked the Commissioner, among other things, to investigate and take “appropriate action” against Tuxedo’s employees. 

The Commissioner noted that Tuxedo’s director of student services and human resources had earlier addressed the M.I.B.’s concerns that were set out in a letter to Tuxedo and explained that all professional staff members of the school “are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse to CPS,” and outlined the procedures followed in making such reports.  The director also stated, among other things, that it had been found that proper procedures had been followed regarding M.I.B.’s complaints. 

M.I.B. contended that Tuxedo was “harassing” his family by “repeatedly filing incorrect reports of [c]hild abuse” to CPS and alleged that between in an eight month period had filed three reports, all of which were dismissed by CPS as unfounded. 

After addressing two procedural matters the Commissioner ruled that the appeal must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. 

The Commissioner explained that the provisions of Article 6 of Title 6 of the Social Services Law (§§411-428) set forth the scheme for mandatory reporting by school officials of suspected cases of child abuse or maltreatment. 

In this instance, said the Commissioner, CPS investigated the reports about which M.I.B. complained and found them to be unfounded.  Therefore, the relief M.I.B. requests would be based on a finding that Tuxedo engaged in misconduct by making the reports to CPS.  

However, the Commissioner said that she has “no authority to review whether such reports are appropriately made in accordance with the Social Services Law” Further, said the Commissioner, she does not have jurisdiction to request that school officials stop filing reports of suspected abuse to CPS or that school officials contact the parents prior to doing so, opining that to do so “would undermine the legislative purpose in requiring that such reports be made by school officials.”

Thus, said the Commissioner, M.I.B.’s appeal must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. 

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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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.
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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.
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