February 24, 1989
Topic: Propriety of town justice performing carpentry work for the town court.
Digest: A town justice who also is a carpenter may remodel the town court for the town.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.5(c) and (h)
A part-time town justice, who is a carpenter, inquires whether the town may pay him for remodeling the town court. The remodeling job involves constructing shelves, rehanging doors, supplying folding chairs and building a raised bench. The cost of the job to the town will be approximately $1,000.00, which the justice advises will be slightly above cost.
While section 100.5(c) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator states that a judge “shall refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties, exploit judicial position ...”, section 100.5(h) permits part-time judges to accept other employment “provided that such employment is not incompatible with judicial office...”
Since the carpentry job involved here is a small project, and as the committee assumes that it is impractical for the town to submit the job for public bidding, the town justice may perform the work. It should be noted that the Committee is addressing only the ethical question raised here, and not any legal issues which may be involved.