Friday, September 09, 2011

Code of ethics bars county board member from representing a not-for-profit corporation

Code of ethics bars county board member from representing a not-for-profit corporation
Neale v Cohen, 281 AD2d 421

Attorney J. Henry Neale, Jr. was appointed as a member of the Westchester County Parks, Recreation, and Conservation Board [WCPB].

While serving on the WCPB, he, acting in the capacity of an attorney in private practice, filed a lawsuit against Westchester County as the legal representative of a not-for-profit corporation.

The Westchester County Ethics Board considered the situation and issued an advisory opinion, without mentioning Neale by name, stating that such conduct was in violation of the Westchester County Code of Ethics.

The Deputy County Executive suspended Neale from his position as a member of the WCPB pending a final determination by the County Executive. Neale subsequently resigned his membership on the WCPB, indicating that he had received a job offer, which might interfere with his position with WCPB.

The Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of his lawsuit challenging his suspension for two reasons:

1.The Ethics Board did not make a final determination but rather issued an advisory opinion without mentioning Neale's name; and

2.Any claim against the Deputy County Executive based on the Evans's suspension and the institution of removal proceedings against him was rendered academic upon his resigning from the WCPB.

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Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

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