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Administrative Rules of the Unified Court System & Uniform Rules of the Trial Courts


Rules of the Chief Judge


PART 40. Financial Disclosure
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40.1 Ethics Commission
40.2 Financial disclosure

Section 40.1 Ethics Commission.

(a) There shall be an Ethics Commission for the Unified Court System which shall consist of five members and shall have and exercise the powers and duties set forth herein with respect to all State-paid judges, justices and nonjudicial officers and employees of the courts and court-related agencies of the Unified Court System.

(b) The members of the commission shall be appointed by the Chief Judge of the State of New York, upon consultation with the Administrative Board of the Courts. Two members shall be State-paid judges or justices of a court or courts of the Unified Court System, and at least two shall not be public officers or employees.

(c) The term of members of the commission shall be five years. Members shall be appointed for no more than one five-year term.

(d) The Chief Judge shall designate the chairperson of the commission from among the members thereof, who shall serve as chairperson at the pleasure of the Chief Judge. The chairperson or any three members of the commission may call a meeting.

(e) Any vacancy occurring on the commission shall be filled within 60 days of its occurrence by the Chief Judge. A person appointed to fill a vacancy occurring other than by expiration of a term of office shall be appointed for the unexpired term of the member he or she succeeds. Where a member of the commission who is a judge or justice leaves judicial office, a vacancy on the commission shall thereby be deemed to have occurred.

(f) Three members of the commission shall constitute a quorum, and the commission shall have power to act by majority vote of the total number of members of the commission without vacancy.

(g) Members of the commission may be removed by the Chief Judge for substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office, inability to discharge the powers or duties of office or violation of this rule, after written notice and opportunity for a reply.

(h) The members of the commission shall not receive compensation but shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.

(i) The commission shall:

(1) appoint an executive director who shall act in accordance with the policies of the commission and the provisions of this rule. The commission may delegate authority to the executive director to act in the name of the commission between meetings of the commission provided such delegation is in writing and the specific powers to be delegated are enumerated;

(2) appoint such other staff, within appropriations made available therefor by the Chief Administrator of the Courts, as are necessary to carry out its duties under this rule;

(3) adopt, amend and rescind rules and regulations to govern procedures of the commission, which shall be consistent with the provisions of this rule and which shall include, but not be limited to, a procedure for such adjudicatory proceedings as are authorized by this rule and the procedure whereby a person who is required to file an annual financial disclosure statement with the commission may request an additional period of time within which to file such statement, due to justifiable cause or undue hardship; such rules or regulations shall provide for a date beyond which in all cases of justifiable cause or undue hardship no further extension of time will be granted;

(4) make available forms for annual statements of financial disclosure required to be filed pursuant to law;

(5) review financial disclosure statements in accordance with the provisions of this rule; provided, however, that the commission may delegate all or part of this review function to the executive director, who shall be responsible for completing staff review of such statements in a manner consistent with the terms of the commission's delegation;

(6) permit any person required to file a financial disclosure statement to request the commission to delete from the copy thereof made available for public inspection one or more items of information, which may be deleted by the commission upon a finding by a majority of the total number of its members without vacancy that the information which would otherwise be required to be made available for public inspection will have no material bearing on the discharge of the reporting person's official duties;

(7) permit any person required to file a financial disclosure statement to request an exemption from any requirement to report one or more items of information which pertain to such person's spouse or unemancipated children, which item or items may be exempted by the commission upon a finding by a majority of the total number of its members without vacancy that the reporting individual's spouse, on his or her own behalf or on behalf of an unemancipated child, or the reporting person on behalf of an unemancipated child, objects to providing the information necessary to make such disclosure and that the information which would otherwise be required to be reported will have no material bearing on the discharge of the reporting person's official duties;

(8) permit any person who is required to file a financial disclosure statement, but who has not been determined pursuant to section 40.2(b) of this Part to hold a policy-making position, to request an exemption from such requirement in accordance with rules and regulations governing such exemptions. Such rules and regulations shall provide for exemptions to be granted either on the application of an individual or on behalf of persons who share the same job title or employment classification which the commission deems to be comparable for purposes of this section. Such rules and regulations may permit the granting of an exemption where, in the discretion of the commission, the public interest does not require disclosure and the applicant's duties do not involve the negotiation, authorization or approval of:

(i) contracts, leases, franchises, revocable consents, concessions, variances, special permits, or licenses as defined in section 73 of the Public Officers Law;

(ii) the purchase, sale, rental or lease of real property, goods or services, or a contract therefor;

(iii) the obtaining of grants of money or loans; or

(iv) the adoption or repeal of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law;

(9) exemptions granted hereunder shall be for such duration as the commission shall determine;

(10) prepare an annual report to the Chief Judge and the Administrative Board of the Courts summarizing the activities of the commission; and

(11) in such cases as it shall deem appropriate, the commission may determine a question common to a class or defined category of persons or items of information required to be disclosed, where determination of the question will prevent undue repetition of requests for exemption or deletion or prevent undue complication in complying with the requirements of this rule.

(j) The commission, or the executive director and staff of the commission, if responsibility therefor has been delegated, shall inspect all financial disclosure statements filed with the commission to ascertain whether any person required to file a financial disclosure statement has failed to file such a statement or has filed a deficient statement.

(k) If a person required to file a financial disclosure statement with the commission has failed to file a disclosure statement or has filed a deficient statement, the commission shall notify the reporting person in writing, state the failure to file or detail the deficiency, provide the person with a 15-day period to cure the deficiency, and advise the person of the penalties for failure to comply with the reporting requirements. Such notice shall be confidential. If the person fails to make such filing or fails to cure the deficiency within the specified time period, the commission shall send a notice of delinquency:

(1) to the reporting person;

(2) in the case of a judge or justice of the Unified Court System, to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct; and

(3) in the case of a nonjudicial officer or employee, to the Chief Administrator of the Courts.

(l) A reporting individual who knowingly and willfully fails to file an annual statement of financial disclosure or who knowingly and willfully with intent to deceive makes a false statement or gives information which such individual knows to be false on such statement of financial disclosure filed pursuant to this section shall be subject to disciplinary action as otherwise permitted by law, rule or collective bargaining agreement. No disciplinary action for false filing may be imposed hereunder in the event a category of "value" or "amount" reported hereunder is incorrect unless such reported information is falsely understated.

(m) A copy of any notice of delinquency sent pursuant to subdivision (k) of this section shall be included in the reporting person's file and be available for public inspection.

(n) Upon written request from any person who is or may be subject to the requirement of filing a financial disclosure statement, the commission shall render advisory opinions concerning such requirement. Such requests shall be confidential, but the commission may publish such opinions provided that the name of the requesting person and other identifying details shall not be included in the publication.

(o) In addition to the other powers and duties specified herein, the commission shall have the power and duty to:

(1) administer and enforce all the provisions of this section;

(2) conduct any investigation necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. Pursuant to this power and duty, the commission may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance and require the production of any books or records which it may deem relevant or material; and

(3) establish an adjudicatory procedure pursuant to which requests for certain deletions or exemptions to be made from a financial disclosure statement as authorized in paragraphs (i)(6), (7) and (8) of this section may be heard.

(p)

(1) Notwithstanding the provision of article 6 of the Public Officers Law, the only records of the commission which shall be available for public inspection are:

(i) the information set forth in an annual statement of financial disclosure filed pursuant to law except the categories of value or amount and the names of unemancipated children, which shall remain confidential, and any other item of information deleted pursuant to paragraph (i)(6) of this section; and

(ii) notices of delinquency sent under subdivision (k) of this section.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of article 7 of the Public Officers Law, no meeting or proceeding, including any such proceeding contemplated under paragraph (i)(6), (7) or (8) of this section, of the commission shall be open to the public, except if expressly provided otherwise by the commission.

Historical Note
Sec. filed Oct. 5, 1988; amds. filed: Feb. 26, 1990; Oct. 29, 1990; July 18, 1994; Sept. 20, 2000 eff. Aug. 29, 2000. Amended (c).

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Section 40.2 Financial disclosure.

(a) As herein provided:

(1) each State-paid judge or justice, regardless of his or her annual rate of compensation; and

(2) each nonjudicial officer and employee of the Unified Court System who, in a calendar year:

(i) receives annual compensation at or above the job rate of SG-24 as set forth in paragraph (a) of subdivision (1) of section 130 of the Civil Service Law as of April 1st of the year in which an annual financial disclosure statement shall be filed and is not otherwise exempted from filing pursuant to this Part; or

(ii) holds a policymaking position, as determined in accordance with subdivision (b) of this section, shall file annually with the Ethics Commission of the Unified Court System a financial disclosure statement containing the information and in the form set forth in the annual statement of financial disclosure adopted by the Chief Judge of the State of New York. Such statement shall be filed on or before the 15th day of May following the conclusion of such calendar year, except that:

(a) a person who is subject to the reporting requirements of this section and who timely filed with the Internal Revenue Service an application for automatic extension of time in which to file his or her individual income tax return for the immediately preceding calendar or fiscal year shall be required to file such financial disclosure statement on or before May 15th but may, without prejudice on account of a deficient statement, indicate with respect to any item of the disclosure statement that information with respect thereto is lacking but will be supplied in a supplementary statement of financial disclosure, which shall be filed on or before the seventh day after the expiration of the period of such automatic extension of time within which to file such individual income tax return, provided that failure to file or to timely file such supplementary statement of financial disclosure or the filing of an incomplete or deficient supplementary statement of financial disclosure shall be subject to the provisions of section 40.1(k) of this Part as if such supplementary statement were an annual statement; and

(b) a person who is required to file an annual financial disclosure statement with the Ethics Commission of the Unified Court System, and who is granted an additional period of time within which to file such statement due to justifiable cause or undue hardship, in accordance with required rules and regulations on the subject adopted pursuant to section 40.1(i)(3) of this Part, shall file such statement within the additional period of time granted.

(b) During the month of February in each year, the Chief Administrator of the Courts shall file with the Ethics Commission for the Unified Court System a written instrument that shall set forth the names of:

(1) all State-paid judges and justices; and

(2) all State-paid nonjudicial officers and employees of the courts and court-related agencies of the Unified Court System who, during the preceding calendar year, received annual compensation at or above the job rate of SG-24 as set forth in paragraph (a) of subdivision (1) of section 130 of the Civil Service Law as of April 1st of the year in which an annual financial disclosure statement shall be filed and have not been otherwise exempted from filing pursuant to this rule, and the names of such nonjudicial officers and employees who, during such year, held policymaking positions in the determination of:

(i) the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, as to personnel of that court;

(ii) the Presiding Justice of each Appellate Division, as to personnel of that court; and

(iii) the Chief Administrator of the Courts, as to all other State-paid personnel of the Unified Court System.

Historical Note Sec. filed Oct. 5, 1988; amds. filed: July 11, 1990; Feb. 27, 1996; Sept. 23, 1996; Dec. 20, 2002 eff. Dec. 10, 2002. Amended (b).