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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

The Academy for New York State's Local Officials

Protecting the Public’s Interest: A Tutorial on Local Government Ethics and Transparency in New York State

Module 1 - Conflict of Interest of Municipal Officers and Employees

Miscellaneous Exceptions

Several other exceptions cover a variety of contracts and interests:

  • There is a statutory exception that applies to the designation of a newspaper to publish a municipality’s public notices, resolutions, ordinances, and other proceedings. It makes no difference whether the publication has been designated the “official newspaper” of the municipality.
  • There is a statutory exception for contracts for furnishing public utility services, but the exception only applies when the rates and charges for the services are regulated by the Public Service Commission.
  • There is an exception for contracts for the payment of a “reasonable” rental of a room or rooms owned or leased by a municipal officer or employee but only if the room(s) are used for his or her official duties and designated as an office or chamber. For example, if a village rents a room from the village mayor to serve as his or her office, the mayor would not have a prohibited interest in the lease so long as the rent paid by the village is reasonable.
  • There is also an exception that applies when a municipal officer utilizes his or her private employee to perform part-time service in connection with the officer's official duties. The exception applies to contracts between the municipality and the officer for the payment by the municipality of a portion of the private employee's compensation. For example, if a town attorney has a private law practice and uses his or her private secretary to work on town legal matters, then the attorney would not have a prohibited interest in a contract under which the town pays the attorney a portion of the secretary's compensation.
  • There is an exception for interests arising from the employment by a school district of a licensed physician to serve as school physician but only if the employment is authorized by two-thirds of the board of education of the school district. Please note that this exception pertains only to this specific job.
  • There is an exception for contracts with a member of private industry council established under the federal Job Training Partnership Act and contracts with a firm, corporation, or association in which a council member has an interest, but only if the member discloses his or her interest in the contract to the council and does not vote on the contract.

  Next: Are Other Exceptions Allowed?