A bill headed to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk would make major changes to how school superintendents, town supervisors, and mayors handle bad behavior by public employees. New Yorkers face punishing consequences if she lets it become law.

Since the 1950s, state law has guaranteed public workers accused of incompetence or misconduct a number of protections, including the right to a hearing under rules designed to shield them from arbitrary or unjustified firing.

But the legislation, which passed the State Senate and Assembly amid a flurry of hundreds of bills earlier this month, would change the procedure local officials must follow when they want to suspend or fire an employee. It would force officials to hire an arbitrator, who typically charges thousands of dollars per day, to oversee any hearing, and it would force local governments and school districts to keep paying an accused employee in virtually all cases until a hearing can be held.

Read the full commentary in Newsday.