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Court: Sheriffs can't challenge appointments

The Nassau County Correctional Facility is seen in

The Nassau County Correctional Facility is seen in East Meadow. (Oct. 27, 2010) Credit: Sean M. Gates

A State Supreme Court justice has ruled that the Sheriff Officers Association can't challenge the appointment of correction officers to "acting" supervisory positions at the county jail in East Meadow.

"The plaintiffs lack standing to prosecute the subject action. [They] have failed to allege or establish that they have been personally aggrieved . . . nor demonstrated that they possess common law taxpayer standing . . . that generally applies to 'legislative action,' " said the Oct. 11 decision of Justice Joel Asarch in Mineola.

The union challenged a captain's appointment as an acting deputy undersheriff in March 2011; he was promoted to acting commissioner six weeks later. That May, another captain was promoted to acting deputy undersheriff. On Feb. 3, 2012, a correction officer was jumped five grades to acting deputy undersheriff.

The union and its president, John Jaronczyk, had charged that the appointments were "inappropriate and illegal." They argued that the county charter does not allow employees in civil service titles such as correction officer and captain to serve in "acting" positions.

"Our lawyer is studying the decision, and we are considering an appeal," said Jaronczyk.

Nassau Civil Service Commissioner Karl Kampe, named along with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Sheriff Michale Sposato as a respondent, confirmed when the suit was filed in February that the commission does not recognize acting titles.

County Attorney John Ciampoli said Wednesday he was pleased. "This was an important decision affirming the Sheriff's ability to place people in acting positions to operate the jail efficiently," he said.

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