Opinion: 99-129

September 14, 1999

Digest: A Housing Court judge is permitted to serve as a co-recording secretary of the Parent Teachers Association of the school attended by the judge's child.

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(i) and (iv).


            A Housing Court judge inquires whether it is permissible to continue to serve as the recording secretary, together with two others, of the board of the Parent Teacher's Association of the school attended by the judge's child. The duties of that office involve the taking of minutes at the monthly meetings of the board and dissemination of the minutes to the parent body of the school. The judge recognizes that the judge may not participate in fund-raising activities which the Association may undertake in support of the school's extra-curricular activities.

            Section 100.4(C)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides that a judge may serve as an officer of an educational or civic organization not conducted for profit subject to certain limitations including a prohibition against personally participating "in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities." 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i). Further, as stated in section 100.4(C)(3)(b)(iv), a judge shall not:

use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for fund-raising or membership solicitation, but may be listed as an officer, director or trustee of such or organization. Use of an organization's regular letterhead for fund-raising or membership solicitation does not violate this provision, provided the letterhead lists only the judge's name and office or other position in the organization, and, if comparable designations are listed for other persons, the judge's judicial designation.
            In our opinion, there is no ethical reason to prevent the judge from serving as recording secretary of the PTA.