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This entry was published on 2019-12-20
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General powers and duties of the commissioner
Social Services (SOS) CHAPTER 55, ARTICLE 2
§ 34. General powers and duties of the commissioner. 1. The
commissioner of social services shall be the chief administrative
officer of the department.

2. All the administrative and executive powers and duties of the
department shall be vested in the commissioner.

3. The commissioner shall

(a) continue to have, exercise, and perform the functions, powers and
duties conferred by law upon the commissioner of social services;

(b) execute and issue the determinations, decisions, orders, notices,
licenses and certificates of the department as may be required in the
exercise and performance of the functions, powers and duties conferred
upon or vested in the department;

(c) take cognizance of the interests of health and welfare of the
inhabitants of the state who lack or are threatened with the deprivation
of the necessaries of life and of all matters pertaining thereto;

(d) exercise general supervision over the work of all local welfare

(e) enforce this chapter and the regulations of the department within
the state and in the local governmental units;

(f) establish regulations for administration of public assistance and
care within the state both by the state itself and by the local
governmental units, in accordance with law;

(g) provide technical assistance, advisory and consultative services
to business, industry and labor to encourage their sponsorship of day
care centers;

(h) in consultation with the department of education, the department
of health, the division for youth, the office for people with
developmental disabilities and the office of mental health, establish
guidelines for the acceptance by social services officials of notices
that children in foster care are at risk of educational placements, as
provided for in subparagraph four of paragraph b of subdivision one of
section forty-four hundred two of the education law. Such guidelines
shall be designed to assure that the social services district receiving
such a notice inquire into the educational needs of the child and the
circumstances of the foster care placement, and to assure that the
social services district responds as appropriate to any request by a
committee on special education to participate in the proceedings of the

(i) exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may be
required by law.

4. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of the civil service
law, the commisioner may, if he finds that the chief executive officer
of any county or city social services department has failed properly to
perform his duties as required by law or rules and regulations of the
department, present charges and specifications thereof to the appointing
officer or authority of such county or city social services district.
Such appointing officer or authority shall, upon receipt of such charges
or specifications give notice thereof to the chief executive officer of
the social services department and shall make inquiry into the merits of
such specifications at a hearing thereon. The commissioner may present
his evidence at such hearing and recommend removal or other appropriate
sanctions. In the event the appointing authority finds the charges and
specifications made by the comissioner are substantiated, the appointing
officer or authority shall forthwith remove such chief executive officer
or apply other sanctions. Any deputy or other employee of any such
officer may also be removed or sanctioned upon the recommendation of the
commissioner, in the same manner. Such removal or other sanction may not
be appealed to a civil service commission, but may be subject to review
pursuant to article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules.
The provisions of this section shall not be deemed to preclude the
exercise of the power of removal or sanction by the officer or authority
having the power of appointment.

5. The commissioner or any official by him authorized so to do

(a) may conduct any inquiry pertinent or material to the discharge of
the duties imposed upon him by law;

(b) is empowered to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take
testimony and compel the production of such books, papers, records and
documents as may be relevant to any such investigation.

6. The commissioner may exercise such additional powers and duties as
may be required for the effective administration of the department and
of the state system of public aid and assistance.