The First Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Dickerson, reversing Supreme Court, determined that two Department of Health (DOH) rules concerning services provided to developmentally disabled children did not violate the separation of powers doctrine. One rule placed a cap on executive compensation, and the other prohibited an agency which evaluates a child’s need for services from itself providing those services (“conflict of interest” rule). The First Department explained the underlying general principles and then went through each of the Boreali [71 NY2d 1] “separation of powers” factors for each rule:
“The cornerstone of administrative law is derived from the principle that the Legislature may declare its will, and after fixing a primary standard, endow administrative agencies with the power to fill in the interstices in the legislative product by prescribing rules and regulations consistent with the enabling legislation” … . “The constitutional principle of separation of powers . . . requires that the [L]egislature make the critical policy decisions, while the executive branch’s responsibility is to implement those policies” … . “The branches of government cannot always be neatly divided, however, and common sense must be applied when reviewing a separation of powers challenge. As long as the [L]egislature makes the basic policy choices, the legislation need not be detailed or precise as to the agency’s role” … . Where an agency has been endowed with broad power to regulate in the public interest, courts generally will uphold reasonable acts that further the regulatory scheme … .
[The Boreali] factors are (1) “whether the agency did more than balanc[e] costs and benefits according to preexisting guidelines, but instead made value judgments entail[ing] difficult and complex choices between broad policy goals to resolve social problems”; (2) “whether the agency merely filled in details of a broad policy or if it wrote on a clean slate, creating its own comprehensive set of rules without benefit of legislative guidance”; (3) “whether the [L]egislature has unsuccessfully tried to reach agreement on the issue, which would indicate that the matter is a policy consideration for the elected body to resolve”; and (4) “whether the agency used special expertise or competence in the field to develop the challenged regulations” … . The “central theme” of a Boreali analysis is that “an administrative agency exceeds its authority when it makes difficult choices between public policy ends, rather than find[ing] means to an end chosen by the Legislature” … . Agencies for Children’s Therapy Servs., Inc. v New York State Dept. of Health, 2015 NY Slip Op 09647, 2nd Dept 12-30-15
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW (SERVICES FOR DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED CHILDREN, DOH EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION CAP AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST RULES DO NOT VIOLATE SEPARATION OF POWERS DOCTRINE)/DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED CHILDREN, SERVICES FOR (DOH EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION CAP AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST RULES DO NOT VIOLATE SEPARARY OF POWERS)/DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION CAP AND CONFLICT OF INETERST RULES DO NOT VIOLATE SEPARATION OF POWERS DOCTRINE)/SEPARATION OF POWERS DOCTRINE (SERVICES FOR DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED CHILDREN, DOH EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION CAP AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST RULES DO NOT VIOLATE SEPARATION OF POWERS DOCTRINE)