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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 2 - Codes of Ethics and Other Local Actions

Annual Financial Disclosure

Article 18 requires “political subdivisions,” that is, counties, cities, towns, and villages with a population of 50,000 or more, to establish an annual financial disclosure system. Other municipalities may also adopt such a system but are not required to do so.

Under Article 18, political subdivisions have broad discretion to design their own annual financial disclosure form and filing system. If a political subdivision fails to promulgate its own form, it must utilize a form and filing system prescribed by Section 812 of the General Municipal Law. Other municipalities may either design their own form and filing system, or use the form and filing system prescribed by Section 812.

Article 18 also requires political subdivisions and other municipalities that promulgate their own annual financial disclosure form to identify by name of office or by title or classification those “municipal officers and employees” who must file the disclosure form. The former Temporary State Commission on Local Government Ethics concluded that these jurisdictions, at minimum, must require the disclosure form to be filed by “local elected officials,” “local officers and employees,” and those officers and employees whose duties involve the negotiation, authorization, or approval of certain matters (e.g., negotiation of contracts). Counties, cities, towns, and villages also have the option of requiring annual financial disclosure from “local political party officials.” Political subdivisions and other municipalities that utilize the disclosure form and filing system prescribed by Section 812 must require the form to be filed by “local elected officials,” certain “local officers and employees,” each “local political party official” and each candidate for “local elected official.”

Currently, annual financial disclosure forms must be filed with a jurisdiction’s board of ethics or, if a jurisdiction does not have a board of ethics, with the governing body of the jurisdiction. Where a jurisdiction promulgates its own annual financial disclosure form and requires the form to be filed with its board of ethics, the jurisdiction, by local enactment, must provide the board of ethics with appropriate authority to enforce the filing requirement. In all other cases, the power to enforce the filing requirement is provided by Section 812.

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