Opinion 08-13

February 11, 2008

Please Note: This opinion addresses the circumstance where a town court clerk wishes to serve as a village trustee, a position in which he/she will not have a vote on the town court’s budget or the salaries of the town justice(s).  Where both positions are in the same municipality, see e.g. Opinions 03-21; 10-42; 12-53. 

In addition, we note that Opinion 89-72, referenced in this opinion, applies to a very specific set of circumstances, in which a sitting village trustee wishes to stand for election as a town justice.  In the reverse scenario, a sitting town justice who wishes to stand for election as a village trustee must resign from judicial office “upon becoming a candidate” for that position, as defined in Section 100.0(A) (see 22 NYCRR 100.0[A]; 100.5[B]).

         A judge inquires about the propriety of a part-time justice court clerk simultaneously serving as a village trustee.

         In Opinion 89-72 (Vol. III), the Advisory Committee concluded that there is no ethical incompatibility if a town justice also serves as a trustee of a village. A court clerk of a town justice court, therefore, also may serve as a village trustee. The Committee renders no opinion, however, as to the legal compatibility of the two positions.