PBA Invokes Obscure Rule to Win New Panel Hearing

, New York Law Journal

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The city is represented by assistant corporation counsels Ellen Ravitch and Pamela Dolgow of the Law Department.

The underlying case involves three members of the PBA, not named in the First Department's December decision, who were elected to four-year terms as PBA representatives for police officers in the Bronx. A 1975 executive order from the mayor allows city employees to take a paid leave of absence to work for their union.Such leave is known as release time.

In October 2011, the officers were indicted as part of a ticket-fixing scheme and pleaded not guilty. The city subsequently rescinded their release time certificates, offering to issue new certificates to three new representatives of the PBA's choice. The PBA rejected that offer and filed a grievance with the Office of Labor Relations, which was denied.

The PBA then filed a request for arbitration with the Office of Collective Bargaining, and a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court seeking a preliminary injunction preventing the city from rescinding the certificates. Justice Joan Lobis granted the injunction in December 2011.

The city appealed, and the First Department reversed Lobis.

Andrias, who wrote the majority opinion, noted that release time certificates themselves state that they may be revoked or modified. He also pointed to language in the executive order on release time stating that employees on release time "shall at all times conduct themselves in a responsible manner."

Gische, who wrote the dissent, said that the release time could not be revoked because the officers had not been convicted of a crime, only charged.

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