The state Appellate Division ruled against the city over giving its public safety commissioner the authority to discipline Schenectady police officers.
The court issued a ruling on Thursday in favor of the state Public Employment Relations Board, saying that the Taylor Law supersedes the Second Class Cities Law, leaving disputed cases to continue to be decided by an arbitrator.
The city has 30 days to appeal the decision to the state Court of Appeals.
“We have to make the decision of whether to pursue it higher,” Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said. “As far as a remedy for us that would be the final step.”
The Taylor Law mandates that disciplinary procedures for all public employees be the subject of good faith collective bargaining. The Second Class Cities Law, which was enacted prior to the Taylor Law, commits police discipline to the discretion of the public safety commissioner.
Bennett pointed to similar cases in New York City and the town of Wallkill in Orange County by the state Court of Appeals, which ruled that the Second Class Cities Law is applicable.
“This is contrary to the New York City Police Department case and Wallkill’s case,” Bennett said. “In those cases the Taylor Law didn’t supersede. Why were they not superseded by the Taylor Law?”
Bennett said he would meet with Mayor Gary McCarthy and Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico to decide whether the city should appeal the ruling.
The fight over police discipline between the city of Schenectady and the Schenectady Police Benevolent Association has been ongoing for several years.
Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, firstname.lastname@example.org or @HRViccaro on Twitter.