February 24, 2020
This responds to your inquiry (20-11) asking whether you may, as a town justice, accept an appointment by the town board to serve on the board of a not-for-profit local development corporation, funded by tax revenue from the local power facility. The entity is designed to help promote community and economic development.
A part-time judge generally may serve as an officer, director, trustee, or non-legal advisor of a not-for-profit civic organization, provided the entity is not likely to be engaged in proceedings that ordinarily would come before the judge (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][a][i]; 100.6[B]) and further provided such service will not interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties and is not otherwise incompatible with judicial office (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[A]). A part-time judge, unlike a full-time judge (see 22 NYCRR 100.6[B]), may also “accept appointment to a governmental committee or commission or other governmental position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy in matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice” (22 NYCRR 100.4[C][a]).
Accordingly, the Committee has said that a part-time judge may accept an appointment to a city industrial development agency; serve on a loan committee for a local economic development agency; and serve on a city’s local tourism board. In addition, a judge may serve on the board of directors of a community-based, not-for-profit local development corporation.
As there appears to be no conflict between your judicial duties and the corporation’s purpose of promoting community development and creating jobs and local tax relief, it is ethically permissible to accept this appointment.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 19-147; 15-15; 05-03; and 95-50 which address these issues.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice (Ret.)
Appellate Div., First Dep’t
Margaret T. Walsh
Supreme Court Justice