Disciplinary Hearing Officer – Civil Service Law Section 75
As a constituent and a proud union member, I urge you to support S.5205 (Gounardes). This legislation will amend section 75 of the civil service law to ensure an impartial and fair due process hearing for all permanent employees, such as NYSUT's non-instructional staff in school districts and many other job titles in public service, who are the subject of disciplinary charges. These employees should also be exempted from suspension without pay during the disciplinary hearing process to protect them from significant loss of income.
Under the current provisions of section 75 of the civil service law, individuals who have attained permanent appointment as employees may be removed from their positions, or have other disciplinary actions taken, after a hearing held before the officer or body that has brought the charges. This language allows the employing officer or body to become both the prosecutor and judge of the permanent employees' actions. This structure, by its very nature, does not provide employees with an objective hearing.
Section 75 should be amended to provide a more reasonable procedure by which a hearing is conducted before an impartial arbitrator who is selected upon the mutual agreement of both parties. If no agreement can be reached, then an arbitrator should be selected under the rules set up by the American Arbitration Association. Such a system would give both the employer and the employee an opportunity to present their respective sides and allow for an impartial verdict.
In addition, safeguards should be established to protect civil service employees from suspension without pay during such procedures. This amendment will ensure conformity between the section 75 disciplinary hearing process and the process used when charges are brought against tenured teachers under the education law.
I ask that you raise these important issues in conference and urge your leadership to ensure an impartial and fair due process hearing for all permanent employees who are the subject of disciplinary charges.
I thank you for your consideration and support on this important issue and would appreciate a reply to my correspondence.
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