OPPOSE – Oppose Part U of S. 2006/A. 3006 – Education, Labor and Family Assistance

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Oppose Memo

Do Not Compromise Administrative Hearings

Oppose Part U of S. 2006/A. 3006

Education, Labor and Family Assistance

The New York State AFL-CIO, representing 2.5 million union workers and their families as well as our retirees and their families, opposes the above referenced legislation.

This proposal would amend the executive law to create a division of central administrative hearings within the executive department. This would essentially create a consolidated pool of administrative law judges (ALJs). These ALJs could be assigned to other agencies to hear matters outside their area of policy and legal expertise.    

Administrative Law Judges become experts in their agency’s policy and legal jurisdiction. This expertise is developed over years, and in many instances, decades. Courts routinely defer to administrative agency determinations because of that very expertise.

Assigning these experts to handle cases outside of their normal jurisdiction squanders that expertise and puts the public at risk of bad decisions, made by highly qualified judges that were assigned to handle cases outside of their usual subject area. The risk of harm from bad decisions is magnified because of judicial deference to agency determinations. Any potential cost savings or efficiency sought by establishing this rubric would be quickly gobbled up by the protracted litigation that would ensue.    

Requiring a Department of Motor Vehicles ALJ to decide unemployment cases, having a Medicaid ALJ decide real estate agent disciplinary matters or assigning workers’ compensation cases to a PERB ALJ does a disservice to the public and the ALJ. Cases involving workers’ rights such as workers’ compensation, unemployment and matters before the Division of Human Rights and PERB are of particular concern because of the intricacies of their governing statutes and the minutiae of prior administrative and judicial case law.    

Therefore, this Federation urges this legislation be defeated.

For further information, contact the Legislative Department at 518-436-8516.

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Memo # 11/2017