- Call Governor Cuomo on Thursday (518-474-8390) between the hours of 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM and ask him to veto S7801/A9853.
- Mail a copy of the letter below on your own letterhead to the governor. (Click here to download a blank letter)
- Ask your church, organization, friends and neighbors to send a letter.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
New York State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Re: Veto Bill S7801/A9853
Dear Governor Cuomo:
I wish to express my strong opposition to recently passed legislation (S7801/A9853) that places control of police discipline within collective bargaining agreements, and urge you to veto it. This bill would strip local public officials of disciplinary authority over the police officers they employ, which would have a detrimental impact on the accountability of local police departments, and thus safety and public confidence in the police. There have been eight prior attempts to make this legislation law, and Governors Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, Eliot Spitzer, and David Patterson have vetoed this legislation the past several times that law enforcement unions have lobbied for its passage in or near an election year. As Governor Pataki simply stated in defense of his veto in 2006: “[Decisions] relating to the discipline of law enforcement officers should be made by publicly accountable officials.”
Police unions have continuously sought to roll back the Court of Appeals decisions from 2006 and 2012 that stated publicly accountable officials should determine disciplinary procedures for local police forces rather than collective bargaining agreements. Town of Wallkill v Civ. Serv. Employees Ass'n, Inc., 19 NY3d 1066, 1069 (2012) citing Matter of Patrolmen's Benevolent Assn., 6 N.Y.3d at 571, 815 N.Y.S.2d 1, 848 N.E.2d 448. Both decisions cite the strong policy considerations weighing in favor of maintaining public officials’ control over the police.
These same strong public policy concerns compel me to write you today. This legislation would inhibit local law enforcement officials, police commissioners and governments from holding police departments accountable to the public over which they exercise a great deal of power. Courts ruled against collective bargaining agreements controlling disciplinary procedures for good reasons. It would remove fundamental disciplinary authority from police commissioners and other publicly accountable elected officials.
I urge you to veto S7801/A9853 and uphold the principle that police departments serve the public interest, must be held accountable by public officials, and are not rulers over the communities they are charged to protect and serve. Elected officials and their publicly accountable appointees should not have to bargain for the ability to discipline their police force.