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NEW YORK CITY MANAGERIAL EMPLES. ASSN. v. DINKINS

June 29, 1992

NEW YORK CITY MANAGERIAL EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, GEORGE CAULFIELD, WILLIAM H. DWORKIN, JOHN L. HENDRICKSON, CHARLES D.W. KIRNON, PHILIP LEVINE, FRANK MEYER, ANTHONY PUNZI, THOMAS SWEETMAN, HAROLD YOURMAN, JAMES B. McNALLY, RONALD L. SAVITT, MITCHEL SAED, BLANCHE BARTH and FRED EWALD, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
DAVID N. DINKINS, as Mayor of the City of New York, ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, as Comptroller of the City of New York, THE NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS CORPORATION, THE NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY and THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONSTANCE BAKER MOTLEY

SUMMARY JUDGMENT

 I. Introduction

 This suit was brought by the New York City Managerial Employees Association (the "MEA") and fourteen managerial employees against the Mayor of the City of New York (the "City"), its Comptroller, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (the "HHC"), the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York (the "BOE") and the New York City Transit Authority (the "TA"), their respective employers. Plaintiffs seek declaratory, monetary and injunctive relief from defendants' determination to impose salary freezes and cuts upon them in fiscal years 1991 and 1992. Similar salary freezes and cuts were not imposed on nonmanagerial employees who are unionized and nonunionized nonmanagerial employees who are referred to as original Jurisdiction employees. Plaintiffs claimed that the classifications thus created violated their rights under the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal and New York State Constitutions. Defendants moved for summary judgment in their favor. The motion is granted for the reasons which follow.

 II. Factual Background2

 A. The defendants' workforces.

 Defendants' workforces include three categories of employees: (1) nonmanagerial, unionized employees whose salaries are covered by collective bargaining agreements; (2) nonmanagerial, nonunionized employees whose salaries are not covered by collective bargaining (a.k.a. "Original Jurisdiction" or "OJ" employees); and (3) managerial, nonunionized employees, whose salaries are not covered by collective bargaining ("managers"). *fn3" See Jenkins Aff. PP5-6; Ryan Aff. P6; Doherty Aff. P6; Baxter Aff. P4.

 New York's Taylor Act (N.Y. Civ. Serv. Law §§ 200-214 (McKinney 1992)) and the City's Collective Bargaining Law (Administrative Code §§ 12-301 - 12-316 (1985)) create a classification between those City employees whose salaries are determined by the Mayor (and the governing bodies of the other defendants) and those employees whose salaries are governed by the collective bargaining process. Managers are excluded from collective bargaining precisely because of their "managerial" status. OJ employees are excluded because their work involves "confidential" matters, such as personnel or labor relations matters. See N.Y. Civ. Serv. Law § 201.7; Administrative Code § 12-305.

 Managers occupy a variety of positions, generally involving significant responsibility for the formulation, recommendation and implementation of governmental policies and programs. Managers also generally exercise significant discretionary authority within their areas of responsibility, including the allocation of work or resources, or the direction of personnel. Jenkins Aff. PP10-15; Ryan Aff. PP8-18; Doherty Aff. PP7-13; Baxter Aff. PP6-9.

 Original Jurisdiction employees generally hold positions that do not involve significant discretionary responsibility with respect to governmental policy or the allocation of work, personnel or resources. Rather, OJ employees typically provide support and assistance to managers to whom they report with respect to matters of policy formulation, personnel, the allocation of resources and other sensitive matters. Jenkins Aff. P16; Ryan Aff. P19.

 In contrast to managers, unionized employees generally do not occupy positions that involve significant responsibilities for making or implementing policies in given areas or for exercising significant discretionary authority with respect to the direction of the operations of the defendants on such matters as allocation of work or resources, or direction of personnel. Rather, unionized employees typically occupy various clerical, administrative, technical, paraprofessional, professional, service or other support staff positions. Jenkins Aff. PP18-19; Ryan Aff. PP20-21; Doherty Aff. PP14-15; Baxter Aff. P10.

 B. The Mayoral Directive.

 Managerial and OJ employees of each of the defendants have their wages determined by the chief executive officer of their respective employers pursuant to the New York City Charter and Administrative Code and the relevant statutes. Pl. Mem. at 9. This case arises out of the issuance in October 1990 of a directive by Mayor Dinkins to the heads of all mayoral agencies and departments that: (1) "froze" the salaries of City employees not subject to collective bargaining contracts (managers and OJ employees) who were earning salaries over $ 40,000 per year, but less than $ 70,000 per year; and (2) "cut" by five percent the salaries of City employees not subject to collective bargaining contracts earning over $ 70,000 per year, although no salary of an employee affected by the cut was to be reduced below $ 70,000 per year (the "Mayoral Directive"). Michael Aff. P22, Ex. D.

 In response to a request from Mayor Dinkins, Michael Aff. P24, Ex. E, F; Baxter Aff. P13; Doherty Aff. P19; Ryan Aff. P24, other defendants in this case took similar, but not identical, salary actions. Baxter Aff. PP14-15, 19 Ex. F-I; Doherty Aff. PP17-22, 26-27, Ex. F-K; Ryan Aff. PP22-25, Ex. F-G.

 The Mayoral Directive was intended to serve two governmental objectives. The first objective was to set an example of financial sacrifices by the City's governmental leadership in difficult financial times. Thus, the Mayor stated in his Memorandum accompanying the Directive that the City's then deteriorating fiscal condition would cause "pain and sacrifices for everyone and the [City's managers] would be abdicating the public trust if [they] did not share in some of the sacrifice." Michael Aff. Ex. D. (M000240). In this regard, the Mayoral Directive was intended to show that the City's highest ranking employees -- those employees involved in the management and administration of the City's business and affairs -- were bearing their fair share of the City's financial burdens. The Mayor believed that setting an example of "sacrifice at the top" was important for several reasons. Thus,

 
-- The imposition of salary limitations on higher-level employees would underscore both the seriousness of the City's fiscal problems and the administration's approach to those problems.
 
-- The example set by the Mayoral Directive would also help bolster general public confidence at a time when City residents were being asked to bear the burden of the fiscal crisis in the form of service cutbacks and higher City income and property taxes, among other things.
 
-- Since the City was involved in labor negotiations with certain of its unions and anticipated that the City might request wage and other financial concessions, it was important to demonstrate that the City's higher-level employees, including those with significant responsibility over union employees, were themselves making those types of financial sacrifices. In this regard, the recently submitted Executive Budget contains no amounts for general, across-the-board collective bargaining increases for fiscal years 1993 and 1994, and such increases are likely only in the context of productivity gains.

 See generally Michael Aff. PP25-26, Ex. D, G, H.

 The Mayoral Directive's second objective was to save money in the City's budget. Indeed, the Mayoral Directive did permit the City to save at least $ 15 million that otherwise might have gone to wage increases. Such savings were part of an overall effort to address the City's financial crisis and helped to avoid the need to generate additional savings from further service and program cuts. See Michael Aff. PP21, 27-30, Ex. A-C, G, I.

 By its own terms, the Mayoral Directive expired on June 30, 1991, the end of fiscal year 1991. Michael Aff. P23, Ex. D. On July 1, 1991, Mayor Dinkins issued a subsequent directive which extended the salary freeze and pay cut into fiscal year 1992. The extension was intended to serve the same governmental objectives as the original Mayoral Directive. Michael Aff. P32, Ex. J.

 C. Subsequent salary actions instituted by the Mayor.

 In October 1991, Mayor Dinkins authorized the issuance of a personnel order implementing a retroactive 3.5% wage increase for fiscal year 1991 for the City's Original Jurisdiction employees (whose salaries had been frozen by the Mayoral Directive). In April 1992, the Mayor authorized the issuance of another personnel order implementing an additional 1% wage increase for OJ employees for fiscal year 1992. As a result of these actions, the OJ employees have now received the same salary increases for fiscal years 1991 and 1992 that employees in the City's main labor unions received pursuant to recently concluded collective bargaining negotiations. Michael Aff. P33, Ex. K, L.

 The Mayor granted these salary increases to OJ employees because he determined that they had sacrificed enough during the past year as a result of the Mayoral Directive. In this regard, while OJ employees occupy confidential positions that involve working closely with managers, they are not managers and are not amongst the City's higher ranking employees. Michael Aff. P34; see also Jenkins Aff. P16.

 In December 1991, the Mayor rescinded the Mayoral Directive, which had the direct effect of restoring the salaries of managers to their pre-Directive levels. While the Mayor also rescinded the "freeze" component of the Mayoral Directive, he did not simultaneously authorize a salary increase for affected City employees. As a result, the salaries of the City's managers earning $ 40,000 or more per year are now at the same levels they were in October 1990 immediately before the issuance of the Mayoral Directive. Michael Aff. P35, Ex. M.

 The Mayor rescinded the Mayoral Directive principally because of continuing concerns that the continuation of the Mayoral Directive might have adverse effects on the pension benefits of City employees whose salaries had been cut. It had always been the Mayor's policy -- as stated in the Mayoral Directive itself -- that the Mayoral Directive should not have the effect of reducing pension benefits of affected City employees. Michael Aff. P36, Ex. D, N, O.

 D. This lawsuit.

 Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on May 15, 1992 which plaintiffs opposed on May 29, 1992. Defendants replied on June 5, 1992 and argument was held on June 19, 1992.

 III. The Standard for Summary Judgment

 Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment should be granted when the court concludes from the record before it that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986).

 The mere existence of disputed facts will not preclude entry of summary judgment. See, e.g., Knight v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., 804 F.2d 9, 11-12 (2d Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 480 U.S. 932, 94 L. Ed. 2d 762, 107 S. Ct. 1570 (1987); Cubby, Inc. v. Compuserve Inc., 776 F. Supp. 135, 138 (S.D.N.Y. 1991); United Bank of Kuwait PLC v. Enventure Energy Enhanced Oil Recovery Assoc., 755 F. Supp. 1195, 1199 (S.D.N.Y. 1989). Rather, "only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 248; see also Herbert Constr. Co. v. Continental Ins. Co., 931 F.2d 989, 993 (2d Cir. 1991).

 Once the moving party meets its burden by "pointing out the absence of evidence to support the nonmovant's claims," Citizens Bank of Clearwater v. Hunt, 927 F.2d 707, 710 (2d Cir. 1991) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986)), the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to establish that a ...


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