Opinion 91-26

March 14, 1991


Digest:         A full-time judge may not serve as a municipal environmental hearing officer.


Rules:          22 NYCRR §§100.5(g); 100.5(h)


         A full-time judge inquires whether the judge may serve as an environmental hearing officer with a town. As hearing officer, the judge does not get paid by the town, nor does the judge issue decisions or reports. The purpose of the hearings is to allow individuals to be heard in an orderly fashion.

         Section 100.5(g) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides that, ''no judge shall accept an appointment to a governmental committee, commission, or other position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy on matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice." The environmental hearing officer position here is not directly related to the improvement of law or the legal system, and thus, the judge may not serve. Section 100.5(h) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, which permits judges to accept government employment, is inapplicable here, as section 100.5(h) covers only part-time judges.