New York Civil Service Lawyer
After the Revolution, New York became a state and George Clinton was elected its first Governor in 1777. In 1829, President Andrew Jackson announced a policy he called “rotation in office,” but which later came to be known as the “spoils system.” George Plunkitt, a local leader of New York City’s Democratic Party, defended the spoils system. “You can’t keep an organization together without patronage,” he declared. “Men ain’t in politics for nothin’. They want to get somethin’ out of it.”
The “spoils system” where “officials” and “employees” were appointed to carry on the functions of the new government, of course those appointments were made by the “party in power” such appointments were made as political paybacks to people who supported the “party in power.” The appointments had nothing to do with being “qualified.”
In 1881, after President James A. Garfield was assassinated by Charles J. Guiteau that led to a public outcry for reform and an end to the “spoils system.” In 1883, the Pendleton Act was enacted, establishing a federal merit-based system of selecting government officials and supervising their work. In 1884, New York became the first state to adopt a merit-based civil service system for state workers. In 1894, New York inserted the “merit and fitness” requirement into the Constitution.
New York Civil Service Law is largely governed by two principles – the state’s Constitution’s “merit and fitness” requirements and a civil servant’s “property interest” in his/her continued employment. Operating on these two principles, civil service job offers and promotions must be based upon “merit” and permanent civil service employment may not be terminated without a hearing. The Sanders Firm, P.C., is available to advise and represent employees or applicants alleging violations of the civil service law.
Merit and Fitness
The “merit and fitness” requirement, which generally applies to hiring decisions and promotions, shall be ascertained by such examinations as may be prescribed by the state civil service department or the municipal commission having jurisdiction. §50 of the New York State Civil Service Law.
Pursuant to the “one in three” rule, a public employer may select only one of three persons certified by the appropriate civil service commission as standing highest on such eligible list who are willing to accept such appointment or promotion. §61 of the New York State Civil Service Law. If a certified person is not selected for appointment or promotion due to discriminatory animus, courts will only direct the public employer to reconsider the certified person’s eligibility. Andriola v. Ortiz, 82 N.Y.2d 320 (1993), but the courts may only fashion such a remedy if the civil service eligible list has not expired. Matter of the City of New York, et al. v. New York State Division of Human Rights, et al., 93 N.Y.2d 768 (1999).
Permanent civil servants have “property interests” in their employment. Thus, a permanent civil servant shall not be removed or otherwise subjected to any disciplinary penalty except for incompetency or misconduct shown after a hearing upon stated charges pursuant to §75 of the New York State Civil Service Law. Probationary or provisional civil servants do not have “property interests” in their employment thus can be removed, disciplined or otherwise discharged without a hearing or cause shown.
If you feel that you’ve had your civil service rights violated, or would like to have an attorney review your documents to ensure that your rights are protected, contact the New York Civil Service Lawyer at The Sanders Firm, P.C., 800-371-4835, today.