January 29, 2004
Digest: An appointed acting village justice should not serve on a local, elected school board.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(4); Opinions 96-09 (Vol XIV); 90-63 (Vol V); 88-142 (Vol. III).
An appointed acting village justice asks if it permissible to continue to serve on and to seek re-election to the local school board. The judge specifically asks if the fact that his/her judgeship is an appointed position rather than an elected position would allow him/her to continue to serve as an elected member of the board.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct allow a part-time judge to accept public employment with a state or local agency that is not incompatible with judicial office. 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(4). In addition, this Committee has stated that a part-time judge may serve on a BOCES school board that is not popularly elected and does not levy taxes. Opinion 96-09 (Vol. XIV).
Service on a local elected school board would, however, likely cause a judge to be confronted with political issues and matters of public controversy. This Committee has previously determined that such considerations render such service inadvisable. Opinions 90-63 (Vol. V); 88-142 (Vol. III). In our view, the fact that the inquiring judge’s judicial position is appointed rather than elected does not remedy this impediment and therefore, we advise that the judge not continue to serve on the local school board.