31 December 2018,
Firm Partner Brian D. Nugent has established a long list of successes for municipal clients in labor relations matters over the last decade. Attorney Nugent and his team handle all aspects of public labor relations from the day-to-day guidance to clients to more formal matters, including Collective Bargaining Negotiations, Mediation, Compulsory Interest Arbitration, Grievance Arbitration, Improper Practice Charges before the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), Disciplinary matters, Article 78 proceedings, Article 75 proceedings and appellate proceedings in New York’s Appellate Courts.
As shown below, Attorney Nugent has had significant success on behalf of the firm’s municipal clients, including numerous Towns and Villages in the lower Hudson Valley. Attorney Nugent has achieved success in matters from the lowest levels through the Appellate Courts of New York State where lower level decisions in favor of the firm’s municipal clients have been challenged and upheld. In addition to public labor relations services, our firm serves as primary legal counsel to many Towns and Villages in the Hudson Valley, guiding government boards and land-use boards through the myriad of issues faced by local governments. Our firm has a reputation for providing candid legal advice and keeping in mind the interests of the taxpayers and the fiscal concerns of local governments. To contact our municipal team, call 845-353-2000.
PUBLIC LABOR RELATIONS MATTERS
 Disciplinary Proceeding – Appellate Division, Second Department determined that substantial evidence supported termination of public employee following charges and a hearing.
 Line of Duty Injury/ 207-c Hearing Officer – Mr. Nugent successfully stayed arbitration sought by a union regarding denials of performance of duty applications after the Union declined to participate in hearings before the Village appointed hearing officer, but did not object to the neutrality of the hearing officer. The Orange County Supreme Court denied the Union’s petition to compel arbitration and granted the Village’s stay of arbitration, determining that the hearings must be held before the Village appointed Hearing Officer as provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement procedure.
 Part-Time Police Officers/ Transfer of Unit Work: Mr. Nugent successfully defended a Town in Orange County where a police officer union (PBA) challenged the Town’s use of existing part-time officers to supplement the full-time patrol force. The PERB Administrative Law Judge determined that since a separate union of police sergeants already did the same patrol work as the PBA, the PBA could not claim exclusivity over the patrol work and dismissed the PBA’s Improper Practice Charge in its entirety.
 PERB Compulsory Interest Arbitration: Mr. Nugent, representing a Town in Compulsory Interest Arbitration successfully defended the Town’s negotiation proposals and succeeding in striking improper Union proposals. The Public Employment Relations Board confirmed the Town’s position that contract proposals submitted in negotiations may extend beyond two years, even though arbitration awards are limited to a two-year period.
 NYS Civil Service Law, Section 71 (Separation from service) : Mr. Nugent successfully represented a Town in Rockland County seeking to separate a police officer from service after the officer was out on Workers Compensation Leave for more than two years. The Rockland County Supreme Court upheld the separation and the Appellate Division, Second Department later affirmed the decision of the Rockland County Supreme Court.
 Grievance/ Police Supervisor School, NYS General Municipal Law 209-q: Mr. Nugent successfully represented a Town in Orange County defending a grievance by a police union member who had been promoted to sergeant and had his scheduled changed to accommodate the three-week supervisor school (Monday to Friday). The union filed a grievance asserting that under the contract provisions, when a member’s shift is changed, they must be paid overtime and claimed entitlement to 120 hours of overtime in this case for attendance at the school. A hearing was held before an arbitrator. Mr. Nugent successfully argued that police supervisor school is mandated by NYS statute (General Municipal Law 209-q) and an officer who fails to complete the require school forfeits his/her position. Thus, the Town was accommodating the officer by allowing the schedule change. The arbitrator agreed with the Town’s position and denied the grievance in all respects.
 NYS General Municipal Law 207-c; NYS CPLR Article 75 (Stay of Arbitration): Mr. Nugent successfully defended a Village in Orange County when a police union sought to compel arbitration of a denial of GML 207-c benefits. The Orange County Supreme Court denied the union’s petition to compel arbitration, agreeing with the Village’s position that the union failed to utilize the contractual hearing process set forth in the collective bargaining agreement and that the parties had not agreed to arbitrate GML 207-c denials.
 NYS General Municipal Law 207-c: Mr. Nugent successfully represented a Town in Rockland County after a Police Chief denied a General Municipal Law 207-c application for an officer injured prior to the start of a scheduled shift. A hearing officer upheld the denial of GML 207-c benefits.
 Staying Arbitration/ Job Security Clause: Mr. Nugent successfully obtained an order staying arbitration of a contract grievance where a police union sought to arbitrate a contract provision concerning a requirement that a Sullivan County Village maintain a minimum number of members of the police department. The Sullivan County Supreme Court stayed the arbitration, determining that the collective bargaining agreement provision was essentially a job security clause and was violative of public policy, invalid and unenforceable.
 Grievance Arbitration/ Accrued Time: Mr. Nugent successfully defended a Town in Orange County where a police union brought a grievance contending that a newly hired officer who was hired late in the calendar year was entitled to a full year of accrued time credits. After a hearing, the arbitrator agreed with the Town’s position that the contract language was ambiguous, but that the past practice of the parties clearly support the Town’s position that newly hired officers received a pro-rated allotment of accrued time.
 Article 78 (Automatic Stay); NYS CPLR 5519: Mr. Nugent successfully argued to the Orange County Supreme Court that where a Court directed a Village to file an Answer to an Article 78 Petition within a stated number of days, such direction constituted an executory directive entitling the Village to an automatic stay of proceedings pending an appeal of an earlier court decision.
 PERB Improper Practice/ Transfer of Unit Work: Mr. Nugent successfully overturned the decision of a Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who had determined that a Town in Rockland County had improperly transferred union unit work when the Town placed civilian court security officers in the Court to replace police officers. The ALJ initially ruled in favor of the Union. Mr. Nugent challenged the ALJ decision to the full Public Employment Relations Board arguing that the ALJ had failed to conduct the Niagara balancing test to evaluate whether the Town had changed the job qualifications for the court security positions from sworn law enforcement to civilian, and to balance the interests of the Town and Union in doing so. The Board agreed with the Town, overturned the ALJ decision and dismissed the Union’s charge, finding that under the Niagara balancing test, the Town’s interest in changing the qualifications of the positions to civilians outweighed the union’s interests and that there had been no loss of union work or union positions.
 Grievance Arbitration (Work Scheduling): Mr. Nugent successfully defended a Village in Sullivan County regarding a grievance arbitration where a police union sought to challenge a change in the work schedule reducing an 84-hour schedule to an 80-hour schedule to eliminate overtime claims. The Arbitrator denied the union grievance determining that the PBA failed to show that the Village and the police union had agreed on the terms of a prior, unsigned Memorandum of Understanding and the Arbitrator denied the grievance.
 CPLR Article 75: Stay of Arbitration (Failure to comply with Condition Precedent): Mr. Nugent successfully obtained a stay of arbitration from the Sullivan County Supreme Court where a Village employee sought to arbitrate her termination from employment but failed to comply with the contractual grievance procedure to challenge her termination. The Sullivan Supreme Court held that compliance with the grievance procedure was a condition precedent to arbitration. The Sullivan Supreme Court therefore permanently stayed the arbitration.
 Fair Labor Standards Act: Federal Court: Mr. Nugent represented a Village in Sullivan County in a proceeding brought by a police union against the Village alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In response to the federal complaint, Mr. Nugent submitted a pre-motion letter to the Court asserting the grounds for dismissal of the case. After reviewing Mr. Nugent’s letter, the police union conceded that Mr. Nugent’s position was correct and withdrew their federal action.
 Declaratory Judgment Action/ Standing: Mr. Nugent successfully represented a Village in Orange County in a declaratory judgment action that was brought against the Village by a corporate plaintiff. The Orange County Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Village, determining that the corporate plaintiff did not have standing to bring the action as it did not own property in the affected area, did not conduct business in the area and did not assert any economic injury.
 Grievance Arbitration/ Proration of Longevities: Mr. Nugent successfully represented a Town in Rockland County where a police union brought a grievance claiming that annual longevity payments may not be prorated where an officer retired early in the calendar year. The Town had been previously paying a prorated amount for officers that retired during the calendar year. Mr. Nugent argued that while the Town had been paying a prorated amount, the collective bargaining agreement provided that the longevity was payable only to “employees” on December 1st of each year and that a member retiring prior to that date in the calendar year was not entitled to any longevity since they would not be “employees” on December 1st. The Arbitrator agreed with the Town and held that only members of union who were employees on December 1st of the calendar year would be entitled to longevity payments.