July 26, 2016
This responds to your inquiry (16-98) asking if you may continue to serve on the Executive Committee of a private not-for-profit elementary school’s board of trustees, as Vice Chair, and as member of its search committee to hire a new head of the school.
Subject to certain limits, a judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor of a not-for-profit corporation. Thus, the Committee has previously advised that it is ethically permissible for a judge to accept appointment to the Board of Trustees of a not-for-profit corporation or to serve on the board of a private not-for-profit school. The Committee has also advised that a judge may serve on a search committee to select a new superintendent of schools. Accordingly, it is ethically permissible for you to serve as Vice Chair and as a search committee member for a private, not-for-profit school.
Enclosed, for your convenience are Opinions 09-150; 08-173; 03-38; 98-08; 97-143 and 97-10 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)