NY court uphold ruling on use of town cars

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ALBANY — New York's highest court has confirmed a state board's conclusion that personal use of municipal vehicles is an employment benefit subject to union negotiations. The Court of Appeals, divided 5-2, has upheld the 2011 Public Employment Relations Board ruling that Islip improperly ended its 20-year practice of letting dozens of workers drive assigned town vehicles home at night.

However, the court majority says Islip sold vehicles after imposing new restrictions in 2008 and shouldn't be forced “to invest significant taxpayer dollars" to replace them.

Instead, the case is going back to PERB “to fashion a remedy" that gives the workers “commensurate, practical relief" without specifying what.

Dissenting judges say the personal vehicle use, which violated a local law, “should not" evolve into a binding term of employment.

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