Allows employers to suspend a police officer without pay pending disciplinary charges.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the town law, in relation to the employer's ability to suspend a police officer without pay pending disciplinary charges
PURPOSE: This Legislation would make Town Law consistent with Civil Service Law and Village Law by limiting the period of suspension of a police officer without pay pending a hearing on disciplinary charges to thirty days.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: §1- amends section 155 of the Town Law, to require that a town board shall have the power to suspend, without pay, pending the trial of charges, any member of such police department in accordance with section 75(3) of the Civil Service Law.
§2 - provides for an immediate effective date.
EXISTING LAW: Section 75 of the Civil Service Law is the default provision governing the prosecution of disciplinary charges against the majority public employees in New York State, including police officers. Many police collective bargaining agreements contain provisions replacing §75 with alternative disciplinary procedures agreed to by the employer and the representative employee organization. police officers discipline not covered by collective bargaining agreements can fall under different procedures depending upon the statute that covers where they are employed.
JUSTIFICATION: Unfortunately, the disciplinary procedures set forth in these statutes differ significantly. One of the ways in which they differ is the time period for which an officer may be suspended without pay prior to the hearing on the charges against the officer.
- Civil Service Law §75(3) allows for suspension without pay for a period not to exceed 30 days.
- Village Law §8-804 limits prehearing suspension without pay to 30 days.
- Town Law §155 allows for suspension without pay pending the trial of charges for an indefinite period of time.
Police officers employed by Towns face indeterminate suspension without pay pending disciplinary hearings, which other similarly situated public employees do not face.
The 30-day limitation provided for by Civil Service Law §75(3)provides for more consistent public policy without unduly hampering an employer's authority in disciplinary proceedings. Under all the aforementioned disciplinary procedures, the administration of disciplinary charges is totally within the control of the municipality (employer), including who the hearing officer is,
when the disciplinary hearing is to be conducted, when the transcript is prepared, when and by whom the transcript is review on behalf of the municipality and when the municipality makes its final determination based on the hearing officer's recommendation.
By providing a 30-day limitation on pre-hearing suspension without pay, the municipality realizes that it will resume paying the officer's salary after 30 days thus providing the municipality the impetus to keep the process moving in a timely manner. Under Town Law §155 there is no such impetus and has the potential for abuse.
There are good and valid reasons why suspension without pay is limited to 30 days under various provisions of law and therefore should be extended to police officers covered by Town Law.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009 Session: S.5656 Referred to Local Governments - No further action 2010 Session: S.5656 Referred to Local Governments - No further action Same as bill A.8507 Passed Assembly in 2009 and 2010 Sessions
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5336--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 9, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government -- recom- mitted to the Committee on Local Government in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the town law, in relation to the employer's ability to suspend a police officer without pay pending disciplinary charges THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The second undesignated paragraph of section 155 of the town law, as amended by chapter 310 of the laws of 1962, is amended to read as follows: Any member of such department found guilty upon charges, after five days' notice and an opportunity to be heard in his defense, of neglect or dereliction in the performance of official duty, or of violation of rules or regulations or disobedience, or of incompetency to perform official duty, or of an act of delinquency seriously affecting his general character or fitness for office, may be punished by the town board having jurisdiction, by reprimand, by forfeiture and withholding of salary or compensation for a specified time not exceeding twenty days, by extra tours or hours of duty during a specified period not exceeding twenty days, by suspension from duty for a specified time not exceeding twenty days and the withholding of salary or compensation during such suspension, or by dismissal from the department. Such board shall have the power to suspend, without pay, pending the trial of charges, any member of such police department IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBDI- VISION THREE OF SECTION SEVENTY-FIVE OF THE CIVIL SERVICE LAW. If any member of such police department so suspended shall not be convicted of the charges so preferred, he shall be entitled to full pay from the date of suspension. The conviction of a member of such police department by the town board shall be subject to review by the supreme court in theEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD11473-02-2 S. 5336--A 2
judicial district in which such town is located in the manner provided by article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules, provided that the proceeding is commenced within thirty days from the determi- nation of such conviction by the town board. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.