Judge Orders County to Repay More Than $3 Million That Was Illegally
Withheld From Officers’ Paychecks

East Meadow, New York, September 25, 2006 --- Members of the Sheriff Officers Association (ShOA) of Nassau County, the union that represents the correction officers at the Nassau County Correctional Facility, have won a federal lawsuit brought against County Executive Thomas Suozzi for illegally and unilaterally imposing a payroll lag on correction officers in September of 2003. Union officials stated that their victory will result in the county being forced to pay back more than $3 million that was illegally withheld from their members’ paychecks.

United States District Court Judge Arthur D. Spatt found that Suozzi's actions deprived the correction officers of their property in violation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and ordered the county to repay the monies withheld, which amounted to a total of 10 days of pay for each correction officer employed, taken over the course of 10 pay periods.

“We are pleased that the court agreed with our argument that the county violated our client’s rights when it unconstitutionally withheld money from their paychecks,” said Malcolm Goldstein, the union’s attorney. “Moving forward, we will continue to protect our client’s rights.”

"In an attempt to balance his budget, Suozzi knowingly made a decision to deprive us of our pay and constitutional rights," stated ShOA President John Duer. "His actions were irresponsible and callous and clearly narrow-minded. We had every confidence the court would rule in our favor.

"It's a shame that hard-earned taxpayer money has been spent by Nassau County on a court case to defend the illegal actions of Tom Suozzi who, as a high ranking county official, knew exactly what he was doing," Duer added. "Someone needs to remind Suozzi that he was elected by the good people of Nassau to lead this county, not to hurt those in law enforcement who put themselves in danger everyday to protect the community. He owes us all an apology."

The county has been directed by the court to repay the monies withheld from the members of the Sheriff Officers Association, due to the unconstitutional payroll lag policy instituted by County Executive Tom Suozzi, within 60 days of the decision, which was handed down on September 15, 2006.

The Sheriff Officers Association (ShOA) of Nassau County is the union that formed in 1999 as a result of the Nassau County correction officers’ separation from the Civil Service Employees Association. The union represents approximately 1,100 correction officers who serve at the Nassau County Correctional Facility in East Meadow to protect the safety of the public and over 1,600 inmates housed in the facility.