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


Municipal officers and employees need to be above reproach in putting the interests of their constituents above their own. Citizens depend on officials to act in the public good and to be honest and efficient in their handling of public resources.

Ethics for public officials and employees involves more than financial resources and controls. Its scope includes any activities, such as information peddling and nepotism, where personal interests are put before those of the public. And it extends to avoiding even the opportunity for, or the appearance of, impropriety.

This tutorial is divided into three modules. Module One discusses Article 18 of the General Municipal Law, which is the statewide statute pertaining to conflicts of interest. Module Two covers local actions that are required or authorized by Article 18. Module Three provides case studies that illustrate real-life ethics questions and allows you to use what you have learned to resolve them.