A public officer failing to file a timely oath of office forfeits his or her appointment or election to such office
Public Officers Law §30
§30 of the Public Officers Law, among other things, provides that “Every office shall be vacant" upon the refusal or neglect of the individual to file his or her official oath or undertaking, if one is required, before or within thirty days after the commencement of the term of office for which he or she is chosen, if an elective office, or if an appointive office, within thirty days after notice of his or her appointment, or within thirty days after the commencement of such term; or to file a renewal undertaking within the time required by law, or if no time be so specified, within thirty days after notice to him or her in pursuance of law, that such renewal undertaking is required.*
As an example, the Schenectady Gazette recently reported that three members of the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority were removed from their respective offices because they each had failed to sign their oaths of office within thirty days of taking office as required by §30.1(h) of the Public Officers Law.
Timely filing the required oath or undertaking is critical as the Appellate Division ruled in Lombino v Town Board, Town of Rye, 206 AD2d 462. John V. Lombino contended that he had filed his oath of office on January 3. The court, however, determined that Lombino was notified of his appointment to the position of Assessor in November and began working on December 3. Thus, said the court, even if Lombino filed his oath of office on January 3 as claimed, the filing was more than 30 days after both the notification and commencement of his term and the Town Board properly declared the office of Assessor vacant.**
* Subject to other provisions, the neglect or failure of any state or local officer to execute and file his or her oath of office and official undertaking within the time limited therefor by law shall not create a vacancy in the office if such officer was on active duty in the armed forces of the United States and absent from the county of his or her residence at the time of his or her election or appointment.
** See, also, Scro v Board of Educ. of Jordan-Elbridge Cent. School Dist., 87 A.D.3d 1342 and Formal Opinions of the Attorney General, Opinion 98-F6.