September 18, 1990
Note on terminology: This Opinion uses the term "town council" as a synonym for "town board."
Digest: A part-time judge may not continue to serve on the town council.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.5(h); 100.7.
A part-time judge who serves on the town council and was elected to the town council prior to election to judicial office, inquires whether he may fulfill the remainder of his term on the town council and whether he may run for re-election to town council.
Section 100.7 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides that a judge “may not take part in any political campaign except his or her own campaign for elective judicial office.” Clearly, the judge may not run for re-election to the town council.
Section 100.5(h) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator states:
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...
The position on the town council may involve controversial legislative and political matters which may incur significant publicity. Consequently, the public perception of the judge may be clouded by the issues the judge will be involved in on the town council. Thus, the two positions of part-time judge and town council member are incompatible and the judge must resign from one of the two positions.