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MATTER CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION v. ROBERT D. HELSBY ET AL. (07/01/69)

COURT OF APPEALS OF NEW YORK 1969.NY.42325 <http://www.versuslaw.com>; 250 N.E.2d 731; 25 N.Y.2d 842 decided: July 1, 1969. IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT,v.ROBERT D. HELSBY ET AL., CONSTITUTING THE PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BOARD, RESPONDENTS Matter of Civil Serv. Employees Assn. v. Helsby, 32 A.D.2d 131, affirmed. John T. DeGraff, John Carter Rice and Frederick C. Riester for appellant. Jerome Lefkowitz, Martin L. Barr, Paul E. Klein, Jerome Thier and Robert J. Miller for respondents. Melvin H. Osterman, Jr. for State of New York, intervenor. Simon H. Rifkind, Julius Topol, Ronald Rosenberg and Martin London for New York State Employees Council 50, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, intervenor-respondent. John R. Harold for Teamsters Local 456 and another. Concur: Chief Judge Fuld and Judges Burke, Scileppi, Breitel and Jasen. Judge Bergan dissents and votes to reverse.


Matter of Civil Serv. Employees Assn. v. Helsby, Concur: Chief Judge Fuld and Judges Burke, Scileppi, Breitel and Jasen. Judge Bergan dissents and votes to reverse.

 Order affirmed, without costs, on the opinion at the Appellate Division.

Disposition

Order affirmed, etc.

Bergan, J. (dissenting). The decision of the board reviewed in this proceeding superseded the arrangement which the Governor had made for discussions with groups of State employees. The Governor's budgetary powers under the New York Constitution (art. VII, § 1) are broadly framed.

In construing the statute creating the Public Employment Relations Board (L. 1967, ch. 392; Civil Service Law, § 205), the court must read in it no purpose by the Legislature to impair the Governor's budgetary powers since, if those powers were adversely affected by the statute, it would be constitutionally invalid.

The Governor's executive budget, as the Constitution provides in express language, must include a "complete plan" of expenditures (cf. People v. Tremaine, 281 N. Y. 1). It is difficult to conceive of the arrangement of any such complete fiscal plan, which necessarily includes all State salaries, without implicit authority in the Governor to arrange the groups and sizes of groups of employees of the State which will discuss with him or his representatives their relation to the "complete plan" he must propose under constitutional duty.

The State of New York, intervening as a party in the proceeding, submits in this court that although the Governor's determination of a general unit was "overturned" by the board, his decision was right and well-founded.

The process of "negotiating" with public employees in money matters, which as a practical matter in labor relations means most of what negotiating there is, like all other questions depending on State expenditures, is under the Governor's sole initial control. The budgetary result, whatever it may be and whoever may play a part in suggesting it, must be determined in the first instance by the Governor, and no one else, and be submitted by him to the Legislature.

It is to be assumed, then, that the Legislature's intention to keep within constitutional limits was indicated when, in the statute establishing the Public Employment Relations Board as an agency in the Department of Civil Service, it stated as a matter of policy that it was creating the board "to assist in resolving disputes between public employees and public employers" (Civil Service Law, § 200). A duty to "assist" constitutional officers does not connote a power to supersede them.

Nothing in the statutory language, which begins with the word "assist" in the statement of policy in section 200 and proceeds on to the power to "define" representative units of employees for the purpose of negotiations (§ 207), suggests that it was intended the board could undo arrangements for representation made by the Governor or to "overturn" them, in the language of the State's brief summarizing the decision of the board's Director of Representation.

The conflict of power which could occur and here did occur is left unresolved by the statute and a court must resolve such a conflict in favor of constitutional officers and against officers created by statute.

But if the power clearly existed, its exercise in this case is arbitrary as a matter of law on the present record. It has no rationally demonstrated basis in the total statutory criteria according to which the board must function. There are three standards by which the board must act under section 207.

All three must be complied with. For the purpose of this discussion the first two dealing with "community of interest" among employees and the power of officials to agree on terms of employment, may be left aside since even if these are met and the third is not met, or its resolution is arbitrary, the determination cannot stand.

The third criterion which must be considered in defining a unit is that it "shall be compatible with the joint responsibilities of the public employer and public employees to ...


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