May 4, 2000
A Family Court judge may serve as co-chair of a steering committee that
is seeking a community access grant from the federal government for the
purpose of integrating and expanding mental health services for children
and families in the community.
22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(iii).
Three counties have joined together to apply to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a $1,000,000 "community access grant" to integrate and expand mental health services for children and families in the tri-county region. The grant would be part of a program funded by the federal government through the Department of Health and Human Services. The inquiring Family Court judge has been asked to co-chair a steering committee that would be involved in seeking the grant.
We do not believe there is any impropriety involved in the judge's participation
in the project. There is a close relationship between the work of the Family
Court and access to mental health services in the community, and, in our
view, the project is one that is closely bound-up with the legal system
and the administration of justice. Section 100.4(C)(3)(b)(iii) of the Rules
Governing Judicial Conduct allows judges to "make recommendations to public
and private fund-granting organizations on projects and programs concerning
the law, the legal system or the administration of justice." 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(iii).
Under such circumstances, it follows that the judge may serve as co-chair
of the steering committee.