September 12, 1991
Digest: A court clerk, who is not a personal appointee of a judge, may engage in political activities outside of court facilities.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.3 (b) (5)
A judge asks whether a part-time court clerk in the judge’s court, who was appointed by the town board on the judge’s recommendation, may help in the election campaign of a town board member.
Section 100.3 (b) (5) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator states that a judge shall prohibit staff members “who are the judge’s personal appointees” from certain political activity.
As the court clerk is not a personal appointee of the judge, the restrictions of section 100.3 (b) (5) do not govern the clerk’s activities. In principle, the judge has no control over the clerk’s activities outside of court, and the clerk may assist in the election campaign of the town board member. The judge, however, should forbid any political activities in court facilities, or on court time. In addition, the judge should instruct the clerk to make clear that any political activities of the clerk have nothing to do with the judge or the court.