March 11, 1999
A recently-appointed part-time Acting Village Justice who is a lawyer,
may serve as the attorney for the Village Library Board of Trustees.
22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(4);
Opinions 88-20 (Vol. I); 91-90 (Vol. VIII);
94-13 (Vol. XII); 97-53 (Vol. XV).
A recently-appointed part-time Acting Village Justice who is a lawyer, asks if it is ethically permissible to continue to represent the Village Library Board of Trustees. The Library Board is an organization separate and distinct from the Village Board, although its members are appointed by the Village Board, as is the Acting Village Justice.
Section 100.6(B)(4) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides that a part-time judge may accept employment in a municipal department or agency, provided that such employment does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge's duties. 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(4).
In Opinion 97-53 (Vol. XV), this Committee concluded that there was no conflict of interest or appearance of bias or impropriety in a part-time lawyer town justice accepting appointment as an arbitrator on a three-person panel in a dispute between an employee and the town. Opinion 97-53 (Vol. XV). In other opinions, the Committee held that an acting part-time Village Justice may serve as the attorney for the Village Board of Zoning Appeals and that town justices may serve as attorneys for the local Fire District. Opinions 88-20 (Vol. I); 91-90 (Vol. VIII); 94-13 (Vol. XII). Accordingly, in our opinion there is no ethical barrier to acceptance by the inquiring judge of retention as an attorney for the municipal Library Board. The justice, however, must disqualify him/herself in any matter involving the Library Board or the municipal Library. Opinion 94-13 (Vol. XII).