Dec. 8, 1988
Topic: Propriety of town justice serving as part-time hearing officer for a county health department.
Digest: A town justice may act as part-time hearing officer for a county health department so long as such employment does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the justice’s judicial duties.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.5(h).
A town justice asks whether he may serve as a part-time hearing officer for the county health department regarding environmental health issues. The nature of the work to be performed involves conducting administrative hearings on behalf of the commissioner of health. The hearing officer must swear in witnesses, evaluate testimony, receive exhibits in evidence and provide the commissioner of health with a summary of the hearing officer’s findings and recommendations, and a proposed order prepared for the commissioner’s signature.
Section 100.5(h) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts states as follows:
A part-time judge may accept private employment or public employment in a Federal, State or municipal department or agency, provided that such employment is not incompatible with judicial office and does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge’s duties. No judge shall accept employment as a peace officer as that term is defined in section 1.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law.
Accordingly, a judge may serve as both part-time justice and hearing officer so long as the duties of the part-time hearing officer do not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge’s duties. However, he should not sit as a judge in any matters affecting the county health department.