Topic: May a New York State Court of Claims Judge accept a non-salaried position to serve as a village zoning board member?
Digest: A State Court of Claims Judge may not serve as a member of a village zoning board.
Rules: N.Y. Constitution Art 6, § 20(b)(1); 22NYCRR § 100.5 (g), Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 5(G)
A judge of the New York State Court of Claims has been asked by the mayor of his village to serve on the village zoning board. The position is appointive and non-salaried and the members hear residents’ applications for zoning variances, improvements to residences, and permission for construction.
The New York State Constitution provides that a Court of Claims Judge may not “hold any other public office or trust except an office in relation in the administration of the courts, . . .” (McKinney’s Const. Art. 6, § 20[b] ). Section 100.5 (g) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts, concerning extra-judicial appointments, states that, “No judge shall accept an appointment to a governmental committee, commission or other position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy on matters other than the improvement of law, the legal system, or the administration of justice . . . .” Canon 5(G) of the Code of Judicial Conduct contains similar language which also prohibits such appointments. Accordingly, the judge may not accept the appointment to the zoning board.
This Opinion is advisory only and does not bind either the Office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.