Ost v. Supervisor of Town of Woodstock

Decision Date04 June 1998
Citation251 A.D.2d 724,673 N.Y.S.2d 768
Parties, 1998 N.Y. Slip Op. 5358 In the Matter of Shawn OST, Appellant, v. SUPERVISOR OF the TOWN OF WOODSTOCK et al., Respondents.
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Division

Thomas P. Halley, Poughkeepsie, for appellant.

Wapner, Koplovitz & Futerfas (Rod Futerfas, of counsel), Kingston, for respondents.

Before MIKOLL, J.P., and MERCURE, CREW, WHITE and YESAWICH, JJ.

YESAWICH, Justice.

Appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court (Torraca, J.), entered March 12, 1997 in Ulster County, which dismissed petitioner's application, in a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78, to review a determination of respondents dismissing petitioner from his employment.

Petitioner, a police officer for the Town of Woodstock in Ulster County, was charged with 11 specifications of misconduct arising from two separate incidents. The first occurred in August 1994. While on duty, petitioner allegedly used his police vehicle to give a young civilian woman a ride to her home outside the geographical boundaries of the Town, without authorization, and subjected her to unwanted sexual contact. The events of that evening formed the basis for five of the charges (specifications 5, 6, 8, 9 and 11). The remaining six specifications (those numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10) were premised upon an incident that happened approximately one year later, when petitioner purportedly compromised the safety and operations of the Town Police Department by informing the same woman (hereinafter the complainant) that she was the subject of a narcotics investigation.

After a hearing, at which petitioner categorically denied having any contact with the complainant on either of the aforementioned occasions, the Hearing Officer found that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the charges relating to the first incident. Petitioner was, however, found guilty of all but one of the specifications arising from the second incident and it was recommended that he be reprimanded and suspended for 30 days without pay.

Respondent Town Board of the Town of Woodstock then passed a resolution unanimously adopting the Hearing Officer's findings of guilt with respect to specifications 1, 3, 4, 7 and 10. Additionally, the Board sustained charges 8 and 11(1)--alleging the unauthorized use of a police vehicle, and an improper and unreported absence from duty, in August 1994--and terminated his employment as a police officer. Petitioner commenced a CPLR article 78 proceeding challenging that determination. Supreme Court rejected all but one of petitioner's contentions, namely, that the Board had failed to set forth the rationale underlying its departure from the Hearing Officer's findings and recommended penalty. As a consequence, the petition was granted to the extent that the matter was remitted for an appropriate decision.

Subsequently, respondent Supervisor of the Town of Woodstock explained in a letter that charges 8 and 11(1) were sustained because the Board, having found that petitioner lied about his activities in August 1995, had concluded that his testimony regarding the earlier incident was incredible as well. The penalty of dismissal was deemed necessary, the Supervisor indicated, because of the serious nature of the August 1995 misconduct, which compromised the physical safety and integrity of the Police Department. Following receipt of this letter, petitioner commenced this CPLR article 78 proceeding, again seeking annulment of the determination, on the ground, inter alia, that the explanation furnished by the Board for its deviation from the Hearing Officer's findings and recommendation was not supported by the record. Supreme Court dismissed the petition, prompting this appeal.

We affirm. Petitioner's argument that his hearing was tainted by the admission of testimony regarding a polygraph test of the complainant is unavailing. Such testimony may be considered in a hearing of this type, if it is otherwise...

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3 cases
  • Zlotnick v. City of Saratoga Springs
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • November 26, 2014
    ...of Hussey v. Incorporated Vil. of Farmingdale, 251 A.D.2d 579, 580, 674 N.Y.S.2d 757 [1998] ; Matter of Ost v. Supervisor of Town of Woodstock, 251 A.D.2d 724, 726, 673 N.Y.S.2d 768 [1998], lv. denied 92 N.Y.2d 817, 684 N.Y.S.2d 488, 707 N.E.2d 443 [1998] ). In an effort to nonetheless sust......
  • Tinter v. Bd. of Trs. of the Pound Ridge Library Dist.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • November 29, 2017
    ...503 ; Matter of Salley v. Hempstead School Dist., 121 A.D.2d 547, 548, 504 N.Y.S.2d 30 ; see also Matter of Ost v. Supervisor of Town of Woodstock, 251 A.D.2d 724, 726, 673 N.Y.S.2d 768 ). Civil Service Law § 75(2) provides, inter alia, that in a case where a hearing officer is designated, ......
  • Ost v. Supervisor of Town of Woodstock
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • December 17, 1998

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