January 31, 2008
Digest: A part-time town justice may accept a position as a hearing officer for the local City Housing Authority, provided the position is not incompatible with judicial office and does not conflict or interfere with proper performance of the judge’s judicial duties.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4(A)(3); 100.6(B)(4); Opinions 03-85; 00-14 (Vol. XVIII); 97-53 (Vol. XV); 95-72 (Vol. XIII); 91-149 (Vol. VIII).
A part-time town justice asks whether he/she may also serve as a hearing officer for a City Housing Authority. These officers determine alleged violations of Authority leases and Housing Voucher Rental Assistance programs. The judge states the Authority is not subject to his/her court’s jurisdiction and he/she would recuse in any town court case involving a party who appears for an Authority hearing.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct permit a part-time judge to accept other employment that is not incompatible with judicial office and that does not interfere with proper performance of judicial duties (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[A]; 100.6[B]). The Committee has said part-time judges may be hearing officers in municipal employee (Opinion 97-53 [Vol. XV]); firefighter (Opinion 00-14 [Vol. XVIII]), student disciplinary (Opinion 95-72 [Vol. XIII]), and campus traffic ticket (Opinion 03-85) matters.
The hearing officer position here is similar to those previously approved. Because the Authority is not subject to the town court’s jurisdiction, the position appears not to a conflict with the inquirer’s judicial duties. Accordingly, the inquiring part-time town justice may also be a hearing officer for the City Housing Authority. As the justice says, recusal is required in a court case involving a party who appears before him/her in an Authority hearing (see Opinion 91-149 [Vol. VIII]). Consequently, the two positions would be incompatible if recusals become frequent (see id.).