A Human Resources Administration public benefits fraud investigator pled guilty to federal charges for fraudulently obtaining Section 8 housing benefits. ALJ Alessandra F. Zorgniotti found that because of respondent’s federal guilty plea, the doctrine of collateral estoppel conclusively establishes respondent's fraudulent conduct. Judge Zorgniotti recommended termination from employment. Human Resources Admin. v. Battle-Black, OATH Index No. 2272/13 (Sept. 10, 2013).
The Fire Department brought a disciplinary proceeding against a firefighter after he was arrested for criminal possession of cocaine. At the hearing, respondent objected to the admission of transcripts of the Fire Department’s interviews of the arresting officers, characterizing their introduction as an end-run around the sealing of criminal records. ALJ Astrid B. Gloade found the interview transcripts were not official records subject to seal and allowed their admission. Finding that the firefighter possessed cocaine, Judge Gloade recommended termination. Fire Dep’t v. Murray, OATH Index No. 2316/13 (Sept. 25, 2013).
A correction officer who called in to request emergency leave to accompany his daughter to the hospital was not guilty of disobeying his supervisor's order to call him back from a phone belonging to the medical facility, when the medical facility denied him permission to use their phones. It was not disputed that respondent's daughter suffered from chronic asthma, and respondent proved he was at the hospital with his daughter that day. ALJ Tynia D. Richard found him absent without leave for part of his tour, however, for failing to call in for an extension of his emergency leave and recommended a three-day suspension. Dep’t of Correction v. Jones, OATH Index No. 2051/13 (Sept. 25, 2013).