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In re Hudson County Probation Department

Decided: March 20, 1981.

IN THE MATTER OF HUDSON COUNTY PROBATION DEPARTMENT -- TITLE IV-D INVESTIGATORS


On appeal from the New Jersey Civil Service Commission.

Matthews, Morton I. Greenberg and Coleman. The opinion of the court was delivered by Matthews, P.J.A.D.

Matthews

The Freeholders of Hudson County appeal from a final decision of the Civil Service Commission issued on March 18, 1980 which held that persons hired as investigators in the county's Probation Department pursuant to Title IV, Part D of the 1975 amendments to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 651 et seq. , are "permanent" Civil Service employees and accordingly are subject to the provisions of N.J.S.A. , Title 11 (Civil Service).

Part D of the Social Security Act, entitled "Child Support and Establishment of Paternity" (42 U.S.C.A. § 651) states:

For the purpose of enforcing the support obligations owed by absent parents to their children, locating absent parents, establishing paternity and obtaining child support, there is hereby authorized to be appropriated for each fiscal year a sum sufficient to carry out the purposes of this part.

Accordingly, 42 U.S.C.A. § 655 stipulates that states will be reimbursed for 75% of amounts expended for the operation of "plans" that are approved under 42 U.S.C.A. § 654.

In April 1978 it was determined that in accordance with the "Title IV-D" program it would be necessary for the Probation Department to hire an additional 20 investigators, clerk typists, and to assign three probation officers and one principal probation officer in order to meet the requirements of a federally-conducted audit scheduled for June 1978. On April 20, 1978 the Department of Civil Service certified a list of "eligibles" for the position of probation department investigator. Shortly thereafter, in June, 20 persons from this list were hired as investigators by the county. The newly hired investigators were classified as "temporary" employees by the county and notified of that fact. Thereafter, the county submitted the required personnel forms to the Department of Civil Service. The Department concluded that the newly hired investigators should be classified as permanent employees, and promptly amended the "temporary" classification given to them by the county.

On June 15, 1978 the county contested the Department's decision to amend the county's classification and requested that the Department review the matter and reverse its determination. The Department rejected the county's request, maintaining that it was correct in classifying the investigators as permanent employees. In support of its position the Department relied heavily upon N.J.A.C. 4:1-14.5, which provides that with regard to local government services temporary appointments are limited to a maximum of four months.

The county submitted a letter, designated as a notice of appeal, to the Department on July 11, 1978 in which a hearing and a review of the matter in question were requested. On August 21, 1978 the Director of Hearings and Regulations for the Department notified the county that the matter would be treated as an administrative appeal subject to a review of the written record. In addition, the county was invited to inspect and supplement the record.

The Civil Service Commission announced its final decision on March 18, 1980, affirming the Department's classification of the investigator positions as permanent. Thereafter, on April 22, 1980 the Department issued a payroll disapproval. Two days later, on April 24, 1980, the county filed this appeal. On May 1, 1980 we entered an order staying the final decision entered by the Civil Service Commission on March 18, ...


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