A combination of state laws makes it harder for elected officials to discipline not only police officers but virtually all categories of public employees, according to a report issued today by the Empire Center for Public Policy.

“Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers rushed last month to pass ‘policing reform’ measures, but they ignored self-inflicted obstacles that prevent our elected officials from holding police officers, and other public employees, accountable,” said report author and Empire Center fellow Ken Girardin. “Any worker accused of misconduct or incompetence deserves fair treatment, but New York’s public-sector discipline system is fundamentally broken.”

Girardin examined how union contracts negotiated under the state’s public-sector collective bargaining law have distorted laws first crafted to shield workers from improper firing. In many cases, elected officials have surrendered or have been stripped of all their power to discipline their employees.

Girardin’s findings include:

  • Arbitration rules in union contracts stop state agencies and other employers from firing employees who commit violence or other extreme acts of misconduct.
  • State law makes the discipline process artificially expensive, forcing elected officials to weigh the cost of discipline and likelihood of success before pursuing it, to the public’s detriment.
  • Some mayors cannot discipline their own police officers because of arbitrary factors ranging from the size of the city’s population to the age of its charter.

Girardin laid out a number of steps that state lawmakers and local officials can take to increase transparency and accountability around the discipline process.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.

You may also like

FDNY Adds More $200K Pensions As New Career Retirees Average $140K

More than three-quarters of last year’s retirees from the City of New York’s Fire Department (FDNY) were eligible for six-figure pensions, with 40 of them eligible for pensions over $200,000 according to data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

Empire Center Sues Cuomo Administration for Withholding Nursing Home COVID Data

The Empire Center today filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Health (DOH) after DOH refused to release records showing the full count of coronavirus deaths among nursing home residents, including those that occurred after patients were transferred to hospitals. Read More

Despite Coronavirus Budget Crunch, Albany Didn’t Lock Down the Pork Barrel

Despite a fiscal crisis that led Governor Cuomo to withhold aid payments for school districts and local governments, the Cuomo administration since spring has approved more than $46 million in new pork-barrel capital grants. Read More

Cops Dominate Latest List of Six-Figure Pensions

Most of the newest retirees eligible for pensions over $100,000 from the New York State and Local Retirement System were retired police officers, according to data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

Empire Center Sues DOT for Hiding Study

The Empire Center for Public Policy today announced its lawsuit against the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) for refusing to disclose a study DOT claims justified forcing bidders to sign a deal with specifi Read More

Empire Center Sues MTA for Hiding Pay Records

The Empire Center for Public Policy today filed a lawsuit to force the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to disclose payroll records for MTA police officers that it withheld in violation of the state’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). Read More

MTA Overtime Down $100M in 2019, But Still Well Above 2014

Employee overtime at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) decreased by more than $100 million last year, according to payroll data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s government transparency website. But while the $1.24 billion in overtime was 8 percent below the 2018 record level of $1.35 billion, it was still 46 percent higher than in 2014. Read More

Port Authority of NY and NJ Payroll increased by $150 Million

Payroll for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) in calendar year 2019 increased by more than $150 million, according to data released today on SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.