July 15, 2009
This responds to your inquiry (09-121) asking whether it is ethically permissible for the Town’s code enforcement officer to serve also as your part-time court security officer.
The Committee has previously advised that it is impermissible for a part-time town/village justice to allow the municipality’s code enforcement officer to serve also as a court officer in the justice’s court (see Opinion 09-31) or for a town constable who serves as a court officer in the justice’s court also to prosecute municipal code violations in the same court (see Opinion 91-54). It is the Committee’s view, therefore, that even though there is a town attorney available to prosecute code violations on the Town’s behalf and it appears that relatively few code violation cases are filed in your court, there would still be an appearance of impropriety if the Town’s code enforcement officer were allowed to serve also as your part-time security officer (see 22 NYCRR 100.2; 100.2A; 100.3E).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 09-31; 96-133; and 91-54 which address this issue.