Matter of Ulster County Sheriff's Employees Assoc. v. Ulster County Sheriff's Dept.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Justice Michael Kavanagh
Ulster County Sheriff's Dept. appealed an order granting the Ulster County Sheriff's Employees Assoc.'s to confirm an arbitration award. The County's personnel officer changed the job description for the assistant warden position, eliminating correction sergeants from the list of eligible personnel who could take a promotional exam for the position. Thus, only correction lieutenants with 12 months of permanent competitive class status were deemed eligible for the exam. An arbitrator found the County violated the collective bargaining agreement when it excluded correction sergeants, directing the exam results be annulled and a new exam given for which correction sergeants with 36 months permanent competitive class status were eligible. The Dept.'s motion for vacatur was denied. This court ruled the arbitrator correctly found eliminating correction sergeants as candidates solely to increase the odds of the provisional candidates ran afoul of the competitive process envisioned by the Civil Service Law, violating the state constitutional provision requiring that civil service positions be filled "according to merit and fitness." Thus, it affirmed the order.