The First Department, over a dissent, reversed Supreme Court’s order that petitioner, who had been convicted of two drug offenses (felonies) in the past, be certified as a NYC Department of Education school bus driver. The First Department explained the relevant criteria as follows:
Where the applicant seeks employment with the New York City Department of Education, the School Chancellor’s regulations apply and Regulation C-105 establishes procedures to be followed …for background investigations of pedagogical and administrative applicants. Regulation C-105 incorporates by reference article 23-A of the Correction Law. Correction Law § 752 (et seq.) prohibits unfair discrimination against a person previously convicted of a crime “unless: (1) there is a direct relationship between one or more of the previous criminal offenses and the specific license or employment sought or held by the individual; or (2) the issuance or continuation of the license or the granting or continuation of the employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals.” Correction Law § 753(a) – (h), which set forth eight factors a public agency must consider in connection with an application for a license, include the person’s duties and responsibilities, the bearing, if any, the criminal offense(s) will have on the person’s “fitness or ability” to perform his or her duties, the time that has elapsed since the occurrence of the crime(s), the seriousness of the crime, information about the applicant’s reputation, etc., and the legitimate interest of the agency in protecting the safety and welfare of specific individuals or the general public. Regulation C-105 provides further that in reviewing the record of an applicant who has a prior criminal conviction, DOE is particularly concerned with offenses, among others, that involve the possession, distribution or selling of controlled substances.
The Chancellor’s Regulation, like the Corrections Law, provides that where the applicant has a certificate of relief from disabilities, that certificate “shall” also be considered (Correction Law § 753). The certificate, however, only creates a “presumption of rehabilitation” with respect to the crime the individual was convicted of, it does not create a prima facie entitlement to the license the person is applying for… . Matter of Dempsey v NYC Dept of Educ, 2013 NY Slip Op 05289, 1st Dept 7-16-13