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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

Text for Video - Additional Prohibitions under Article 18

Please be aware that besides prohibiting interest in contracts Article 18 contains several other prohibitions. These prohibitions are found in Section 805a of the General Municipal Law and were added in 1970 to provide certain state-wide ethical standards. Section 805a flatly prohibits a municipal officer or employee from soliciting any gift. It also prohibits an officer or employee from accepting or receiving any gift having a value of $75 or more under circumstances where it can reasonably be inferred that the gift is intended to or could reasonably be expected to influence him/her in the performance of their official duties or it was intended as an award for any official action. Section 805a also provided the prohibition on a municipal officer or employee from disclosing confidential information or using it to further personal interest.

Please keep in mind the term confidential information is a term of art. So if you have additional questions about this, you may want to reach out to your municipal attorney regarding this. Section 805a also prohibits a municipal officer or employee from receiving or agreeing to receive compensation for services in relation to any matter before the officer or employee’s own agency or an agency of over which he or she has jurisdiction or appointment power.

The example that I like to use for this type of situation is, let say, you have an individual who is on the planning board and he is also an attorney. This individual, as an attorney, may not represent someone in front of that board for compensation. Also, Section 805a also prohibits a municipal officer or employee from receiving or agreeing to receive compensation for services and relation to any matter before any municipal agency when compensation is dependent or contingent on action by the agency.

Finally, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, a municipal officer or employee may be fined, suspended or removed for knowingly and intentionally violating the prohibitions on gifts, disclosure or the use of confidential information and compensated services.

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