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NEW YORK STATE COMMISSION ON PUBLIC INTEGRITY

ETHICS IN
NEW YORK STATE GOVERNMENT

Revised January 2011

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Commission on Public Integrity Overview

Code of Ethics [Public Officers Law §73,


§73 §74,
§74 & §78]

Advisory Opinions [Formal & Informal]

Financial Disclosure [Public Officers Law §73-a]

Nepotism [Public Officers Law §73(14) & §73(15) ]

Civil Service Law [Civil Service Law §75


§75-b
b & §107]

Outside Activities & Honoraria

Post-employment Restrictions & Gifts

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COMMISSION OVERVIEW
Merges the functions of the State Ethics & State Lobbying Commissions

JURISDICTION
S C O
Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General

Executive Branch (approximately 250,000 employees)

SUNY & CUNY

Lobbyists, Clients, and Public Corporations

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COMMISSION OVERVIEW

PRIMARY FUNCTIONS
Educate and advise

Financial Disclosure

Lobbyist and Client Reporting

Investigate potential violations of the Public Officers Law

and New York State Lobbying Act.

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COMMISSION OVERVIEW
13 COMMISSION MEMBERS
7 appointed by the Governor
1 Commission member appointed by the:
Attorney General

C
Comptroller
ll

Senate Majority Leader

Senate Minority Leader

Assembly Speaker

Assembly Minority Leader

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CODE OF ETHICS

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CODE OF ETHICS

All State officers and employees


p y are subject
j to a Code of
Ethics.

Public
bli Offi
Officers Law §74
§ provides
id minimum
i i standards
d d b by
which State Officers and employees are expected to gauge
their behavior.

Th
These t d d are concerned
standards d with
ith actual
t l as well
ll as
apparent conflicts of interest.

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CODE OF ETHICS
*New in 2010:

Public Officers Law §74(3)(d), which is part of the


State Code of Ethics has been amended.

No officer or employee
p y of a state agency,
g y, member of the
legislature or legislative employee should use or attempt to use
his or her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or
exemptions for himself or herself or others, including but
not limited to, the misappropriation to himself, herself
or to others of the property, services or other resources
of the state for private business or other compensated
non-governmental purposes.

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ADVISORY OPINIONS

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ADVISORY OPINIONS

Public document Confidential

Binding on the
Commission on Non-binding
Public Integrity
Issued by the
Issued by the Commission’s
Commissioners Executive Director

Issues of first impression”


“Issues impression Case by case basis”
“Case-by basis

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FINANCIAL
DISCLOSURE

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FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

SECTION §73-a of the Public Officers Law requires


annuall financial
fi i l disclosure
di l on th
the partt off policy-makers
li k
(determined by agency) and employees with an annual salary
rate in excess off the
h job
b rate off a SG-24 CSEA equivalent
l and
d
were previously not exempted from the filing requirement.

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FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
WHO IS REQUIRED TO FILE? 
Policy-makers;

Statewide elected officials,


officials including candidates for
statewide offices;

State Chairs and political party chairs in counties with a


population over 300,000;

St t officers
State ffi d employees
and l h serve in
who i a job
j b title
titl with
ith
an annual salary rate in excess of the job rate SG-24 (CSEA
equivalent) and previously were not exempted from the
filing requirement.

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FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
DUE DATES
MAY 15th –
Statewide elected officials, State officers, political party chairs,
policy-
li makers,
k as well ll as State
St t employees
l with
ith an annuall
salary rate in excess of the job rate of a CSEA equivalent SG-24.
Individuals who meet the requirements for filing after these
dates must file within 30 days.

NOVEMBER 15th-
Academic employees at the State University (SUNY) and City
University (CUNY) of New York who meet the salary
threshold.

When a filing deadline falls on a weekend, forms are accepted the next day of business.

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FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
REDACTION REQUESTS
The Executive Director of the Commission on Public
Integrity can review requests from filers wishing to:
delete information from the copypy made available for p public
inspection, or
• Out of the approximate 27,000 forms filed each year, less than
50 forms are actually requested.

request an exemption from reporting one or more items of


information regarding a spouse or child.

UN-EMANCIPATED CHILDREN
Any un-emancipated child listed on a FDS which the
public requests to view will be automatically redacted.

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FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
REDACTION REQUESTS
HOME ADDRESSES
Home addresses are no longer automatically redacted on
FDS forms.

FDS forms do not require home addresses, only


secondaryy addresses,, or income property.
p p y However,, a FDS
filer may live in their income property.

SAME SEX MARRIAGE


Same sex marriage – spousal information for individuals of the
same sex legally married in another State must now be listed on
the FDS form.

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FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
EXEMPTION REQUESTS
Individuals in non-policy making positions can request an
exemption from filing the Financial Disclosure Statement by
submitting an exemption application available on the
Commission website.
*New in 2010:
MAY 15
5ST –
Deadline for receipt of requests for individual exemptions
and agency or union title exemptions.

NOVEMBER 1ST –
Deadline for filing the annual Statement of Financial
Disclosure for employees of SUNY/CUNY.

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NEPOTISM

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NEPOTISM §73
Family members may be employed, or seek employment within the
same agency. A family member must go through the same
employment process a non-family member seeking employment
would be expected to perform.

PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW


§ Section 73(14)

State employees are banned from participating in any


decision to hire, promote, discipline or discharge a relative.

§ Section 73(15)
State employees are prohibited from awarding contracts
t a relative
to l ti or investing
i ti public
bli funds
f d in i any security
it in
i
which a relative has a financial interest.

Violations can result in a fine of up to $40,000 per instance.

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CIVIL SERVICE LAW

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CIVIL SERVICE LAW §75-b

EMPLOYER RETALIATION
A public employer cannot terminate or use disciplinary
action against a public employee for disclosing information
to a government agency regarding a violation of the law,
law
rule or regulation which created a substantial and specific
danger to public health and safety or constitute an
“i
“improper governmentalt l action.”
ti ”

IMPROPER GOVERNMENTAL ACTION


An action by a public employer or employee, or his or her
agent,
g that is in violation of anyy federal, state, or local law,
rule or regulation and conducted while performing one’s
official duties.

A good faith effort must always be made to inform your appointing authority.

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CIVIL SERVICE LAW §107

INQUIRY
Q CONCERNING POLITICAL AFFILIATIONS
A potential employee cannot be asked about their political
party affiliation, whether or not that applicant made any
political contributions or how that applicant voted.

Inducing g other State employees


p y to make p
political contributions
is also prohibited.

State
St t offices
ffi may nott b
be used
d ffor soliciting
li iti or collecting
ll ti any political
liti l
contributions.

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CIVIL SERVICE LAW §107

POLITICAL ASSESSMENTS
Your State authority or official position may not be used to
coerce, intimidate or otherwise influence other State
employees to give money or service for any political
purpose, to influence the political action of any person or
entity, or to interfere with any election.

A State officer or employee may not be compelled or


induced to pay any political assessment or contribution.

State offices may not be used for soliciting or collecting any political contributions.

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OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES

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NYCRR 932 OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES
HOW ARE POLICY MAKING POSITIONS DETERMINED?
Policy making positions are determined annually by the appointing
authority A written list is provided to the Commission on Public Integrity.
authority. Integrity

OUTSIDE COMPENSATION / EMPLOYMENT


$1,000 – requires agency approval

$4,000 – also requires Commission on Public Integrity


approval and the submission of the Outside Activity
Report form located on the Commission website.

NOT A POLICY-MAKER?
Employees are still subject to §Section 74 of the Public Officers
Law. You may seek advice from your agency’s ethics officer or
request an informal advisory opinion from the Commission on
Public Integrity.
Integrity
Don’t forget the Hatch Act.

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NYCRR 932 OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES
RESTRICTIONS ON POLITICAL PARTY ACTIVITIES
Policy-makers are prohibited from holding office in a
partisan
i political
li i l organization.
i i
(ex. cannot serve as a committee person, board leader, county chair)

CAMPAIGNING
No State resources can be used to help campaign for your
favorite candidate including: phone calls, faxes, e-mails,
copies, and State time.

RUNNING FOR OFFICE


Those
h d i
designatedd as a policy-maker
li k are required
i d to
obtain both agency and Commission on Public Integrity
approval prior to beginning their campaign.

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HONORARIA

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HONORARIA
WHAT IS AN HONORARIUM?
An honorarium is generally a speaking fee or compensation
received from writing an article, or reimbursement for travel
expenses not related to official duties.
duties [See 930.2
930 2 (c).]
(c) ]

WHO APPROVES AN HONORARIUM?


Agency heads or their designees are authorized by the
Commission’s regulations to approve an employee’s request to
receive an honorarium. Agency heads must go to the
Commission for honoraria approval.

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HONORARIA
REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
For those employees who have been designated as policy-makers
or who earn in excess of the income threshold (Grade 24) and
are required to complete the financial disclosure statement, an
honorarium received in excess of $1,000 must be reported in
Question 13 of the Financial Disclosure Statement (FDS).

REPORTING DUE DATE


A il 1st off the
April th subsequent
b t year.

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HONORARIA
CRITERIA FOR AGENCY APPROVAL
A Th
A. The honorarium
h i mustt nott be
b job
j b related.
l t d
An employee who is responsible for responding to
the public about certain aspects of the agency’s
regulations
l i cannot accept an honorarium
h i f giving
for i i
a speech about the regulations.
B The source of an honorarium cannot be a
B.
disqualified source; these are entities or
individuals who are regulated by, negotiate with, do
b i
business or have
h contracts
t t with,ith appear before,
b f
lobby, in litigation with or apply for funds from your
agency.

[See 930.3(a)(1)(i)
930.3(a)(1)(i)-(iv).]
(iv).] A disqualified source can not direct a third party
to provide honorarium.

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POST-EMPLOYMENT
RESTRICTIONS

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§73 POST-EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTIONS
Post-employment restrictions apply to all state employees.

TYPES OF BARS:

Two year bar - applies to all State employees

Lifetime bar– case by case

The start date for the 2 year bar begins from the date of termination
( last day on payroll) including vacation time.

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§73 POST-EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTIONS
TWO YEAR BAR
State employees are barred from “appearing” or “practicing”
before their former agencies for a period of two years
including:
E mails
E-mails
Phone calls
Meetings on and off site

LIFETIME BAR
Project specific
Directly involved and participated with project
Fact specific
D t
Determined
i d on a case b
by case b
basis
i

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§73 POST-EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTIONS
*New in 2010:
REDUCTION IN WORKFORCE EXCEPTION
The Commission
Th C i i on Public
P bli Integrity
I i may be
b able
bl to “waive”
“ i ” theh two
year bar for State employees who have been laid off between
January 1st 2009 and April 1st 2011 due to a “reduction in the
workforce.”
kf ”
Reduction in workforce includes:
economy,
consolidation or abolition of functions,
activities
curtailment of activities.

GOVERNMENT- TO-GOVERNMENT EXCEPTION


Accepting a job from State, local, or out-of-state government
agencies.

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§73 POST-EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTIONS

AGENCY HEAD CERTIFICATION EXCEPTION

If a former employee has expertise or knowledge with respect to a


particular matter that is otherwise unavailable at a comparable cost,
the Commission on Public Integrity must approve the employment.

HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS EXCEPTION


Former State employed health care professionals may treat patients
and clients at the State facility which formerly employed the health
care professional. – Continuity of Care

There are no hardship exceptions for NYS employees. Rules apply equally to a one
week or 30 year hire.

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G IFTS

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G IFTS
Applies to all State employees –
gifts of more than “nominal value” cannot be accepted.
g p

GIFTS MAY INCLUDE:


Discounts

Job offers

Tickets

Dinners & Lunches

The Commission defines “nominal value” as the price for a standard cup of coffee.

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G IFTS

DISQUALIFIED SOURCE
Any person or entity that does business with, is in litigation
with, appears before or negotiates with your agency; lobbies
your agency; applies for or receives funds from your agency
or contracts with yyour agency
g y or another agency
g y when yyour
agency receives the benefit of the contract.

You cannot designate a friend, family member or another


organization to receive the gift on your behalf.

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PERMISSIBLE GIFTS
WIDELY ATTENDED EVENT
When a State agency determines that an employee's attendance
at an event is for a State agency purpose because it will further
agency programs and operations, the employee may accept an
unsolicited gift from a sponsor, even from a disqualified source,
off free
f attendance
d at all
ll or part off a widely
id l attended
d d gathering
h i off
mutual interest to a number of parties.

A gathering is "widely attended" if it is open to members from


throughout
g a g
given industryy or p
profession,, or if those in
attendance represent a range of persons interested in a given
matter.

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PERMISSIBLE GIFTS
GIFTS BASED ON A FAMILY OR PERSONAL
RELATIONSHIP

Anything given by a person or entity with a family or personal


relationship
l i hi with
i h the
h State
S officer
ffi or employee
l when
h the
h
circumstances make it clear that it is the personal relationship
and
d nott the
th recipient's
i i t' State
St t position,
iti th t is
that i the
th primary
i
motivating factor for the gift.

However, gifts treated as a business expense by the donor will not


be considered a gift based on a family or personal relationship.
relationship

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PERMISSIBLE GIFTS
MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 

UNSOLICITED ADVERTISING AND MARKETING ITEMS


You may accept unsolicited advertising or promotional
material
t i l off littl
little iintrinsic
t i i value,
l such
h as pens, pencils,
il note
t
pads and calendars.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Meals received when a State officer or employee serves as a
participant or speaker in a job-related professional or
educational program, and meals are made available to all
participants.

Example:
A State employee whose job is to educate the public on aspects of
the law,
law may accept breakfast from an association which lobbies
the employing State agency when the employee is speaking at or
attending a seminar sponsored by the association and the
purpose of the seminar is to inform about the law.

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NEW YORK STATE
COMMISSION ON PUBLIC INTEGRITY
540 BROADWAY PLAZA
ALBANY, NEW YORK 12207
518.408.3976
5 8. 08.3976

WWW.NYINTEGRITY.ORG

PHONE: 518.408.3976 FAX: 518.408.3975


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