April 19, 2001
Please Note: Opinion 98-31, relied on in this opinion, has been overruled and modified by Joint Opinion 07-155/98-31 as of April 5, 2017.
Digest: A part-time judge may serve on a town committee, the purpose of which is to make recommendations concerning the possible sharing of services with another municipality.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.4(B); 100.4(C)(2)(a); 100.6(B)(1); Opinion 98-31 (Vol. XVI).
A town justice, who is also a retired employee of a village highway department, inquires whether it is permissible to serve on a municipal committee, the purpose of which is "to gather information on ways of saving [the town and village] money by combining manpower, vehicles, and utilities . . . ." The justice advises that the committee in question would conduct a study with respect to the extent to which the town and village could share services, and would present the results of its study to the appropriate municipal boards for review. The matters considered by the committee relate primarily to the highway department of the two municipalities, and would not involve local courts in any way.
Section 100.4(C)(2)(a) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct states that "a full-time judge shall not accept appointment to a governmental committee or commission . . . that is concerned with issues of fact or policy in matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice . . . ." Part-time judges are expressly exempted from this rule. 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(1). The Committee has previously approved of the participation of part-time judges in commissions to review and recommend amendments to city charters. The Committee therefore concludes that the justice's service on the committee is a permissible extra-judicial activity. 22 NYCRR 100.4(B). Opinion 98-31 (Vol. XVI).