Conflicts of Interest
Opinion of the Office of the State Comptroller, #2008-1; #2008-2
In response to an inquiry concerning gifts to school district, the Office of the State Comptroller advised:
A school board member would not have a prohibited conflict of interest under article 18 of the General Municipal Law if he or she also served as a trustee on the board of trustees of a not-for-profit foundation that raises money and makes gifts to the school district. The school board member, however, should not participate in school board discussions or decisions relating to gifts from, or other matters involving, the not-for-profit foundation for which the board member serves as a trustee and, assuming disclosure is not otherwise required by General Municipal Law § 803, should disclose his or her relationship with the not-for-profit entity. [Opinions of the Office of the State Comptroller 2008-1]
The full text of the opinion 2008-1is posted on the Internet at:
In response to an inquiry concerning contracts entered into prior to an individual’s commencing municipal service, the Office of the Comptroller advised:
A newly elected town board member has an interest in a contract between the town and the board member, as a sole proprietor, under which the board member picks up road salt and delivers the salt to a town storage facility.
If the contract was entered to before the board member was elected to office, the exception in General Municipal Law §802 (1) (h) applies and the interest is not prohibited. The board member would be required, however, to disclose the interest in accordance with General Municipal Law §803. In addition, the board member would have a prohibited interest in renewals of the existing contract, or in subsequent contracts between the town and himself or herself as sole proprietor unless another exception in General Municipal Law §802 were to apply. The town should consult its code of ethics to determine whether it contains any pertinent provisions. Even if not required by the town's code of ethics, the board member should not participate in town board discussions or decisions relating to the hauling contract, including but not limited to, discussions or decisions pertaining to auditing claims under the contract. [Opinions of the Office of the State Comptroller 2008-2]
The full text of the opinion 2008-2 is posted on the Internet at:
N.B. These opinions represent the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. These opinions may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in these opinions.