Suffolk County, NY
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 9-12-1979 by L.L. No. 26-1979 (Ch. 49 of the 1985 Code). Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Defense and indemnification — See Ch. 42.
Employee relations — See Ch. 68.
Ethics and accountability — See Ch. 77.
071a Uncod LL Pro

§ 71-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to protect employees who make allegations of corrupt or other criminal activity, conflicts of interest, unethical conduct, misconduct and incompetence.

§ 71-2 Designation of improper government action. [1]

"Improper government action" shall mean any action by an employee which is undertaken which is in violation of any federal, state or local law, rule or regulation or which is economically wasteful, whether or not such action is within the scope of his employment.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 71-3 Complaints regarding and investigation of improper government action.

A. 
Any employee may in good faith provide information on any matter involving improper government action to:
[Amended 9-26-1989 by L.L. No. 35-1989]
(1) 
The County Executive.
(2) 
The County Personnel Officer.
(3) 
The Presiding Officer of the Legislature.
(4) 
The Comptroller.
(5) 
The District Attorney.
(6) 
The Chairman of the Labor, Workforce and Affordable Housing Committee or any successor committee.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(7) 
Any federal or state authority.
B. 
Any County officer or official receiving such a report of improper government action shall either conduct his/her own investigation or refer the matter to the appropriate department to obtain a preliminary investigation and a more complete detailed investigation of the alleged charges.
[Amended 9-26-1989 by L.L. No. 35-1989]
C. 
If there is such preliminary investigation undertaken by the appropriate authorities, it shall not exceed 90 days to determine the validity of the charges. In conducting such an investigation, the identity of the person providing the information which initiated the investigation shall be kept confidential.
D. 
If, upon completion of the preliminary investigation, it appears to the authorities conducting the investigation that the matter is so unsubstantiated that no further investigation, prosecution or action is warranted, he or she shall so notify the person who provided the information initiating the investigation. Such notification shall be by memorandum containing a summary of the information received, a summary of the results of the preliminary investigation with regard to each allegation of improper government action and any determination made by the investigating officer.
E. 
In any case to which this section applies, the identity of the person who provided the information initiating the investigation shall be kept confidential, unless the investigating officer determines that the information has been provided other than in good faith.
F. 
If it appears to the investigating officer after completion of the preliminary investigation that further investigation, prosecution or administrative action is warranted, he or she shall refer the matter to the investigating department and notify the party (if known) who provided the information initiating the investigation that the investigation is continuing.
G. 
Where the preliminary investigation is being undertaken by the investigating officer, such investigation shall be conducted in accordance with established rules and regulations. If upon completion of the preliminary investigation it is determined that no further action is warranted, the investigating officer will so notify the person (if known) who provided the information initiating the investigation that the investigation is closed.
H. 
If the investigating officer determines there is reasonable cause to believe an employee is engaged in any improper activity, the officer shall report the nature and details of such activity to the proper authority to whom the original report of improper government action was made and to such other authority as the investigating officer deems appropriate.

§ 71-4 Use of authority or influence restricted.

A. 
No employee may, directly or indirectly, use or attempt to use the official authority or influence of such employee for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding, influencing or attempting to intimidate, threaten, coerce, command or influence any individual for the purpose of interfering with the right of such individual to disclose information relative to improper government action.
B. 
Use of official authority or influence includes:
(1) 
Promising to confer or conferring any benefit (such as compensation, grant, contract, license or ruling) or effecting or threatening to effect any reprisal (such as deprivation of any compensation, grant, contract, license or ruling); or
(2) 
Taking, directing others to take, recommending, processing or approving any personnel action as defined herein.

§ 71-5 Report of changes in employee's work situation.

A. 
The County Personnel Officer shall by rule establish a program which provides that during the two-year period after a report, the employee making such report may inform the County Personnel Officer of any changes in the employee's work situation which the employee believes are related to the employee's having provided such information to any official listed in § 71-3A. The County Personnel Officer shall investigate such change in the employee's work situation, and, if he determines that a personnel action has been taken as a reprisal against such employee, he shall report such determination to the appropriate department and to any officer specified to whom the original report of improper government action was made and to such other authority as the County Personnel Officer deems appropriate.
[Amended 9-26-1989 by L.L. No. 35-1989]
B. 
For the purpose of this section, "personnel action" means:
(1) 
An appointment.
(2) 
A promotion.
(3) 
Suspension for one month or less or other disciplinary or corrective action.
(4) 
A transfer, assignment or reassignment.
(5) 
A reinstatement.
(6) 
A restoration.
(7) 
A reemployment.
(8) 
A performance evaluation.
(9) 
Any action resulting in loss of staff assistance, office space or equipment or similar benefit.

§ 71-6 Other rights not affected.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to mean a limitation on any grievance mechanism or rights of appeal and/or judicial review currently enjoyed by any employee.