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Sunday, April 2, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF JOHN RESTREPO, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS A-2951-14T4

IN THE MATTER OF JOHN RESTREPO, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS 
A-2951-14T4 
After an ALJ reduced a corrections officer's disciplinary sanction, the Civil Service Commission (Commission) issued a preliminary decision within forty-five days and obtained two fifteen-day extensions before issuing its final determination reinstating his termination. His appeal raises the issue of whether the timeliness of Commission decisions in disciplinary cases involving law enforcement officers and firefighters is governed by the recent legislation addressing such cases, N.J.S.A. 40A:14-200 to -212 (2009 Act), or by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 to -15. 

The Appellate Division holds the specific 2009 Act governs the conflicting provisions of the general APA. Under N.J.S.A. 40A:14-204, the Commission's extensions were proper. Its lack of a quorum was an adequate grounds for an extension. Thus, its decision was timely even though its preliminary decision was inadequate. The court upheld the Commission's decision that progressive discipline was not required.