OVERRULED BY JOINT OPINION 07-155/98-31
March 12, 1998
NOTE: On April 5, 2017, the Committee released Joint Opinion 07-155/98-31, which overrules Opinion 98-31.
Digest: A part-time City Court Judge may serve on a commission to review the city charter and to provide recommendations for amendments.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4(A)(1),(2) and (3); 100.4(C)(2)(a); 100.6(B)(1); 100.6(B)(4) Opinion 90-167(Vol. VI).
A part-time City Court Judge inquires if it is permissible to serve on a commission whose purpose is to review the current city charter and to provide recommendations for change. Recommended changes would be voted upon by the electorate in a referendum. The position is voluntary and uncompensated.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct allow a part-time judge to accept appointment to a governmental committee or commission and to accept public employment in a municipal department or agency provided that such employment is not incompatible with judicial office and does not conflict or interfere with the performance of the judges duties. 22 NYCRR 100.(4)(C)(2)(a);100.6(B)(1); 100.6(B)(4). The Rules also require that any judge, full-time or part-time, conduct his or her extra-judicial activities so that they do not cast reasonable doubt on the judge's capacity to act with impartiality, detract from the dignity of judicial office, interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties and are not incompatible with judicial office. 22 NYCRR 100.4(A)(1),(2) and (3).
The Committee has previously advised that it was permissible for a part-time Village Justice to informally review a proposed new draft of the village charter on behalf of the Mayor of the village. Opinion 90-167(Vol. VI).
Under the circumstances presented, the Committee is of the opinion that there is no inherent incompatibility of office, appearance of partiality or of impropriety or any other ethical reason why this part-time judge may not serve on the city charter revision committee.