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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chaos Continues in New York Court System

Judge Vacates TRO Against OCA Over Clerks' Uncompensated Hours
The New York Law Journal by Daniel Wise  -  June 15, 2011

A judge in Manhattan yesterday dissolved her temporary order requiring the Office of Court Administration to pay clerks assigned to weekend arraignment shifts an additional four hours of pay per week. Acting Justice Barbara Jaffe also denied the request of the New York State Clerks' Association, which has 1,600 members in New York City, for a preliminary injunction prohibiting OCA from re-structuring the hours of clerks assigned to weekend shifts in a manner that requires four hours of uncompensated meal time per week. Justice Jaffe, who issued the temporary restraining order last week, denied the motion on the grounds that the clerks would be paid if they prevailed. About 25 court clerks, including three of the union's officers, packed into Justice Jaffe's tiny courtroom for the half-hour argument yesterday. The group took the judge's adverse ruling without any show of emotion and filed silently out of the courtroom to meet with the union's lawyer, Anthony J. Costantini, in an empty room down the corridor. After the meeting, Mr. Costantini said in an interview that the clerks were "extremely disappointed" but that no decision would be made regarding an appeal until after the judge issued a written ruling. OCA Deputy Counsel General Lee A. Alderstein argued that an injunction was unwarranted because if the union prevailed, its members would receive compensation for their unpaid hours. He also argued that equities tip in OCA's favor because the redesigned schedules of clerks working weekend shifts was part of an overall effort to curtail overtime as OCA struggles to cope with a $170 million budget shortfall. When Mr. Alderstein during the hearing mentioned the four hours of uncompensated meal time, Justice Jaffe expressed skepticism about the union's position, noting that having uncompensated meals would be "just like the rest of us." Last Saturday OCA reduced the hours for handling arraignments over the weekend. To accommodate reduced hours, OCA compressed the work schedules of night shift clerks to four days from five. As of last Thursday, night clerks started working three eight-hour shifts and one 11-hour shift, which had to be covered on a Saturday or a Sunday. OCA also required that the night shift clerks take a one-hour uncompensated meal break on each of their four shifts. Mr. Costantini challenged Mr. Alderstein's assertions that if the union prevailed on its grievance the clerks would receive back pay, saying the OCA had made less than an ironclad commitment on that point. The grievance process could take as long as a year, he said, and to require clerks to work the uncompensated hours with no guarantee that they would be compensated if they win is "not a proper way to treat public employees." Mr. Alderstein countered that Judge Lawrence Marks, OCA's administrative director, said that the clerks would be paid if they won their grievance. But when challenged directly by Mr. Costantini on that point, Mr. Alderstein said the state was not waiving any legal arguments. Until last weekend, arraignment parts were open for 16 hours on both Saturday and Sunday. With the exception of Staten Island, those shifts have now been reduced by 6 1/2 hours. Shifts in second arraignment parts in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been curtailed even more sharply, by 10 hours. In Staten Island the weekend arraignment part has been reduced by one hour, from four to three hours. Under state law, defendants must be brought before a state judge to be arraigned within 24 hours after being investigated. Judge Marks said in an interview that the number of defendants awaiting arraignment more than 24 hours on Tuesday "was consistent with a typical Tuesday."  Daniel Wise can be reached at


hoping said...

I wish these screwed court workers would start talking about what they know about the Pfau/Lippman frauds.

Anonymous said...

As an ex OCA court clerk who worked weekends for 25 yrs..and was compelled to work these weekends doing many, many arraignments on holidays and those days everyone else was sleeping in, but outside of NYC...I must tell you the work load was brutal, the staff was only 3 people, a deduction of about 45 workers from the weekday staff...... and then the judges were damn fools everytime, as they raced through the arraignments to get to their golf dates..or dates, leaving the clerks to work beyond comprehension.
The court reporters left..never sweating and paid tons for just only having to get up early and writing a bit here and there.
When you finished the weekends, you were destroyed as a court clerk and the only thnig that made this crooked screwed up Justice system in NY state.... was the extra money.
I feel for the clerks and so should everyone else....the clerks in OCA get the least amount of money and the most work for their high profile and most important, outside of the judge, position ..... where many men have left when hired..tells you a lot. The court reporters who do less than the clerks most days and the judges secretaries, as well as the court security....get lots more salary and barely do much work.
Still screwing clerks I upgrade in 30 yrs...judges still ruling and running around to protect those that cover their judicial assess..losers!

Anonymous said...

Working for the devil may not meet your expectations.

Anonymous said...

This should tell you how long ago OCA was interested in F******* court clerks.
About 6 yrs ago I sent my weekend OT slip into the hack loaded District Office, as they sent it to OCA after all the hacks signed off on workers that worked when these overpaid politicos were sleeping and ignoring the extensive weekend caseload being handled by a just a few very competent clerks.
I never received my mandatory, union negotiated cash in the 6 week period it had to be paid out. I waited for 8 weeks...everyone else who worked received it in 4 weeks.
I called the lovely ladies in the district office..all whom never, ever worked a courtroom..OT... or anything else that constituted anything difficult or law related...and the answer was submitted by FAX ... and OCA said it came out ripped...can't use a ripped OT slip!
Now tell me OCA.... how does a FAX come out ripped on you rear end, except only if the ripped it on taking it out of the OCA machine.
The next answer was..after 25 yrs of working OT..OCA says in their lying BS, we think you snuck out and took lunch...which would have been paid for by my slip stating I was in the courtroom...when in our city nothing in downtown is open on a WEEKEND DAY....NO ONE I WORKED WITH VERIFIED OR REPORTED THIS MADE UP STORY WITH OCA.
The pay came 3 months later...CSEA did nothing...CSEA never could force OCA to pay OT on time or properly, per the contract...and BS still abounds I see with this issue and the poor clerks, who just lower their heads to the judges crap, as CSEA pretends to care..but really they go back to their office..laugh, eat and drink...and whisper loudly how much they get in dues and screw the members constantly.
OCA=CSEA... both need to depart NY Sate...wake up court clerks and hound them for your rights..they have taken advantage of you for 30 yrs...make them feel the pain...professionally and personally!

Anonymous said...

any of the clerks that have something to say would be well advised to stay away from the feds because they will milk you and then throw you under the bus, best to go the papers

Anonymous said...

we think you snuck out and took lunch..........

I don't mean to laugh but that is funny, couldn't they have thought of a better lie, see liars, shit stirrers
Hello, they could have just offered an apology with your pay!

it not them, it the other guy!

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