Knee Jerk Reactions Are Never Good

General News
February 10, 2021

An Open Letter

To: Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks

From: Court Officers Benevolent Association of Nassau County

COBANC represents most non-judicial employees employed by the New York State Unified Court System in Nassau County. We denounce all forms of bias, discrimination, or harassment whether it be based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, genetic status, gender identity, gender expression, or any other classification or category.

On February 3, 2021, you issued a memorandum titled Further Addressing Bias in the Court System. In it, you characterized the way a matter was resolved by your staff, as a mistake. You then went on to announce a new policy implementing immediate unilateral changes to the disciplinary procedure. This disciplinary procedure is part of our collective bargaining agreement and any changes to it are a mandatory subject of negotiation. While we may or may not agree with the changes, we are entitled to negotiate them.

We acknowledge there are deficiencies in the disciplinary procedure. There are aspects of it that we are averse to, and obviously, there are aspects of it that you are averse to. Most importantly, is the absence of binding arbitration in our disciplinary procedure. Currently, a member is investigated by UCS (the Unified Court System), charged by UCS, a hearing is conducted by UCS (sometimes the same person who conducted the investigation), a determination is made by UCS, and the punishment is decided by UCS. This is very one-sided and unfair. It has sometimes been referred to as a Kangaroo Court.

Although it is our hope and intention to resolve this amicably, please be advised that we will take whatever steps are necessary to protect our members' rights.

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