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A09614 Summary:

COSPNSRButtenschon, Lupardo, Otis, Pheffer Amato, Steck, DeStefano
Amd §§75, 201 & 204-a, Civ Serv L
Requires that firefighters shall not be subjected to the penalty of dismissal from service or any other discipline if the hearing, upon such charge, has been conducted by someone other than an independent hearing officer.
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A09614 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                     March 28, 2022
        Introduced by M. of A. ABBATE -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Governmental Employees
        AN  ACT to amend the civil service law, in relation to independent hear-
          ing officers for certain disciplinary hearings
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section  1.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
     2  the "New York State firefighter bill of rights act".
     3    § 2. Section 75 of the civil service law is amended by  adding  a  new
     4  subdivision 2-a to read as follows:
     5    2-a.  Independent  hearing  officer.  (a)  Notwithstanding  any  other
     6  provision of law to the contrary, including but not limited to  subdivi-
     7  sion  four  of  section  seventy-six  of this title, any paid officer or
     8  member of an organized fire company or fire department of a city of less
     9  than one million population, or town, village or fire  district  who  is
    10  represented  by a certified or recognized employee organization pursuant
    11  to article fourteen of this chapter shall not be subjected to the penal-
    12  ty of dismissal from service or any other  discipline  if  the  hearing,
    13  upon  such charge, has been conducted by someone other than an independ-
    14  ent hearing officer to be agreed to  by  the  employer  and  the  person
    15  against  whom disciplinary action is proposed. If the parties are unable
    16  to agree upon a hearing officer, the hearing officer shall  be  selected
    17  from  a  list  of  seven  names  to be provided by the public employment
    18  relations board. The public employment relations board shall maintain  a
    19  list of independent hearing officers for this purpose. The parties shall
    20  select  the  hearing officer by alternately striking names from the list
    21  of seven. The hearing officer shall be vested with  all  powers  of  the
    22  appointing  authority,  shall  conduct and make a record of the hearing,
    23  and shall render a final decision. The cost incurred in  obtaining  such
    24  independent  hearing  officer  shall  be  divided  equally  between  the
    25  parties; provided that as may be determined upon  the  circumstances  of
    26  the  case, the hearing officer shall be authorized to allocate such cost
    27  on the basis of the frivolous nature of any claim made  or  any  defense
    28  interposed.  In  order  to  find a claim or defense to be frivolous, the
    29  hearing officer must find at least one of the following:
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 9614                             2
     1    (i) the claim or defense was  commenced,  used  or  continued  in  bad
     2  faith,  solely  to  delay  or prolong the resolution of the action or to
     3  harass or maliciously injure another; or
     4    (ii)  the  claim  or  defense  was commenced or continued in bad faith
     5  without any reasonable basis in law or fact. If the claim or defense was
     6  promptly discontinued when the party learned or should have learned that
     7  the claim or defense lacked such reasonable basis, the  hearing  officer
     8  may  find  that the party did not act in bad faith. A person served with
     9  charges may then, however, elect in writing to proceed  with  a  hearing
    10  pursuant  to  the  procedures  established  in  subdivision  two of this
    11  section in lieu of the procedures set forth in this subdivision.
    12    (b) The rights set forth in paragraph (a) of this subdivision shall be
    13  in addition to, and shall not supplant, modify  or  replace  any  rights
    14  provided  to  an  employee pursuant to agreements negotiated by a public
    15  employer and an employee organization pursuant to  article  fourteen  of
    16  this  chapter,  or pursuant to any other provision of law, including but
    17  not limited to other provisions of this section.
    18    § 3. Subdivision 4 of section 201 of the civil service law, as amended
    19  by chapter 606 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows:
    20    4.  The term "terms and conditions of employment" means:
    21    (a) salaries, wages, hours and other terms and conditions  of  employ-
    22  ment  provided,  however,  that such term shall not include any benefits
    23  provided by or to be provided by a public retirement system, or payments
    24  to a fund or insurer to provide an income for retirees,  or  payment  to
    25  retirees  or  their  beneficiaries. No such retirement benefits shall be
    26  negotiated pursuant to this article,  and  any  benefits  so  negotiated
    27  shall be void.
    28    (b) in addition, the terms and conditions of employment for firefight-
    29  ers  shall  include  discipline  and  disciplinary  procedures including
    30  alternatives to any statutory disciplinary  system,  provided,  however,
    31  that any right of firefighters under the terms of any state law to elect
    32  coverage  under either a statutory disciplinary system or a disciplinary
    33  system established by collective negotiations  shall  not  be  impaired,
    34  unless  any such state law authorizes exclusivity of a negotiated disci-
    35  plinary system and provided further that no provision contained  in  the
    36  town  law,  general city law, second class cities law, general municipal
    37  law, municipal home rule law, county law, or other state, local, special
    38  law or charter provision, or any special police act or other special act
    39  created by local law or charter or otherwise created,  or  this  chapter
    40  shall  prevent  or  impair  the  right  to  collective bargaining for or
    41  modification of disciplinary procedures.
    42    § 4. Section 204-a of the civil service law is amended by adding a new
    43  subdivision 4 to read as follows:
    44    4. The terms of any current or expired  agreement  or  interest  arbi-
    45  tration award between any public employer and any public employee organ-
    46  ization  representing  firefighters  relating  to  the discipline of any
    47  firefighters shall be deemed valid and enforceable  from  the  effective
    48  date of this subdivision.
    49    §  5. This act shall take effect on the first of March next succeeding
    50  the date on which it  shall  have  become  a  law  and  shall  apply  to
    51  proceedings  commenced  on or after such effective date. Effective imme-
    52  diately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation
    53  necessary for the implementation of the provisions of this  act  on  its
    54  effective date are authorized to be made and completed on or before such
    55  effective date.
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