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CIAMBRIELLO v. COUNTY OF NASSAU

April 4, 2001

DANIEL J. CIAMBRIELLO, PLAINTIFF,
V.
COUNTY OF NASSAU, CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, INC., RUSSELL RINCHIUSO, AS DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS, AND INDIVIDUALLY, RICHARD COTUGNO, AS ACTING DIRECTOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS, AND INDIVIDUALLY AND RON ROEILL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wexler, District Judge.

  MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Daniel J. Ciambriello ("Plaintiff") commenced this civil rights case alleging that a change in the terms of his employment with Nassau County Department of Public Works was made in violation of his constitutionally protected right to procedural due process. Presently before the court is defendants' motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss the complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the court dismisses Plaintiffs federal claims. The court declines to exercise its discretion to consider the remaining state law claims.

BACKGROUND

I. Factual Background

In light of the fact that this case is presented, at this juncture, as a motion to dismiss, the court will outline here those facts relevant to the motion that are not in dispute and in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the non-moving party.

A. Plaintif.'s Employment

Plaintiff began his employment with the Nassau County Department of Public Works ("DPW") in November of 1992. At that time, he held the position of Equipment Operator I ("EO-I"). Plaintiff held the EO-I position continuously between November 30, 1992 and August 28, 1997. On August 29, 1997, Plaintiff was promoted to the position of Plant Maintenance Mechanic II ("PMM-II"). Plaintiff held the PMM-II position until March 10, 2000. The court assumes, for the purposes of this motion, that Plaintiff performed all duties in both positions in a competent manner.

At all relevant times, the terms and conditions of Plaintiffs employment were governed by the New York State Civil Service Law as well as by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (the "CBA") entered into between Plaintiffs collective bargaining unit and the County of Nassau (the "County"). Relevant here is that portion of the Civil Service Law prohibiting the demotion or termination of covered employees in the absence of a finding of incompetency or misconduct, shown after a hearing. See N.Y.Civil Serv.L. § 75(1) ("Section 75"). Equally relevant are the terms of the CBA. Specifically, that section of the CBA requiring that seniority, inter alia, be considered when promotions are made.

As noted above, Plaintiff was promoted to the position of PMM-II in August of 1997. The court assumes that prior to his March 2000 demotion, Plaintiffs appointment to the PMM-II position became permanent, within the meaning of the Civil Service Law and thus, entitled Plaintiff to the job protection set forth in Section 75 of the Civil Service Law.

B. The Grievance and Arbitration Resulting, in Plaintiff's Demotion

Some time after Plaintiffs promotion, Plaintiffs union commenced a grievance on behalf of four DPW employees with greater seniority than Plaintiff. The grievance argued that Plaintiffs promotion violated the seniority provision of the CBA. Plaintiff was not given notice of the proceeding nor was he invited to participate in the grievance procedure. The grievance resulted in an arbitration and award that was later confirmed by the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

The arbitrator's award, dated February 1, 1999, rendered after a hearing held in January of 1999, sustained the grievance. The award states that when the County failed to consider the employees on behalf of whom the grievance was filed, it failed to follow the contractually required provisions regarding the position of PMM-II and thus, violated the CBA. The arbitrator held that the position held by Plaintiff should be vacated. Thereafter, when filling the position the County was to consider the four grievants. The arbitration award was confirmed by the Supreme Court of the State of New York in a decision dated December 10, 1999. In accordance with the award Plaintiff was ordered to vacate the PMM-II position and was returned to his previously held position of EO-I. The PMM-II position is now held by Ron Roeill, a defendant herein and one of the parties to the grievance.

II. Plaintiff's Complaint

In the action pending before this court, Plaintiff sets forth four separate claims for the relief. Named as defendants are the County, the Civil Service Employees Association, Inc. ("CSEA" or the "Union"), Russell Rinchiuso, a Deputy Commissioner of the Nassau DPW, Richard Cotugno, Acting Director of Environmental Operations of the Nassau DPW and Ron ...


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