Suffolk County, NY
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 10-25-1988 by L.L. No. 37-1988[1] (Ch. 348 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
Ethics Commission — See Charter Art. XXX.
Code of Ethics — See Admin. Code Art. XXX.
Open meetings — See Ch. 172.
Public notification policy — See Ch. 183.
Response and truth in government policy — See Ch. 199.
580a Uncod LL Pro
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also provided that it take effect immediately upon filing in the office of the Secretary of State (12-19-1988) but only apply to lobbying activities occurring on or after 1-1-1990.

§ 580-1 Legislative intent.

A. 
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that lobbyists who appear before agencies, departments, commissions and boards of the County of Suffolk often exercise an influence disproportionate to the actual interests they represent within the Suffolk County community.
B. 
Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to require registration and monitoring of lobbyists who appear before Suffolk County government so as to make certain that the integrity of the decision-making process in County government is preserved and protected against actual improprieties or perceptions of improper activity.

§ 580-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CLIENT
Every person or organization who or which retains, employs or designates any person or organization to carry on lobbying activities on behalf of such client.[1]
COMPENSATION
Any salary, fee, gift, payment or other thing of value paid, given, owed or promised to the lobbyist by the client for lobbying, but shall not include contributions reportable pursuant to Article 14 of the New York Election Law.
[Amended 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
COUNTY
The County of Suffolk.
[Added 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
COUNTY AGENCY
Any department, board, bureau, commission, division, office, council, committee or officer of the County, whether permanent or temporary, or a public authority or public benefit corporation, at least one of whose members is appointed by the County Executive, County Legislature or a County officer, authorized by law to make rules or to make final decisions in adjudicatory proceedings, but shall not include the judiciary.
[Amended 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
EXPENSE
Any expenditures incurred by or reimbursed to the lobbyist for lobbying, but shall not include contributions reportable pursuant to Article 14 of the New York Election Law.
LOBBYING or LOBBYING ACTIVITIES
Any attempt to influence any determination made by the County Legislature or any member thereof with respect to the introduction, passage, defeat or substance of any local legislation; any determination made by the County Executive to support, oppose, approve or disapprove any local legislation; the adoption, issuance or modification of any executive order by the County Executive; the adoption or rejection by a County agency of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law; the outcome of any rate-making proceeding by a County agency; any determination made by a department, officer or employee of the County with respect to the procurement of goods, services or public works; or the award by a department, officer or employee of the County of any grant, loan or agreement which involves the disbursement of public monies. The term "lobbying" shall not include:
[Amended 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
A. 
Persons engaged in drafting legislation, rules, regulations or rates; persons advising clients and rendering opinions on proposed legislation, rules, regulations or rates, where such professional services are not otherwise connected with legislative or executive action on such legislation or administrative action on such rules, regulations or rates.
B. 
Newspapers and other periodicals and radio and television stations and owners and employees thereof, provided that their activities in connection with proposed legislation, rules, regulations or rates are limited to the publication or broadcast of news items, editorials or other comment, or paid advertisements.
C. 
Persons who participate as witnesses, attorneys or other representatives in public rule-making or rate-making proceedings of a County agency, with respect to all participation by such persons which is part of the public record thereof and all preparation by such persons for such participation.
D. 
Persons who attempt to influence a County agency in an adjudicatory proceeding, as defined by § 102 of the New York State Administrative Procedure Act.
E. 
Persons who prepare or submit a response to a request for information or comments by the County Legislature, the County Executive or a County agency or a committee or officer of the Legislature or a County agency.
F. 
The submission of a bid or proposal in response to a request for proposals (RFP) or an invitation to bid or any other solicitation made by a County agency and intended to result in a procurement contract.
G. 
Participation in a conference provided for in a RFP or invitation to bid or any other solicitation by a County agency which seeks responses that will result in a procurement contract.
H. 
The submission of written questions to a County agency during the procurement process, when all written questions and the responses thereto will be disseminated to all persons who have responded to the solicitation of a County agency.
I. 
Persons who bring complaints of alleged improper conduct in a County procurement to a County agency, the District Attorney or a court of competent jurisdiction or persons who are a party to a protest, appeal or other review proceeding before the County agency conducting the procurement seeking a final administrative determination.
J. 
Persons that have been tentatively awarded a County contract and are engaged in communication with a County agency for the sole purpose of negotiating terms of the contract.
K. 
Contacts during a procurement process between County agency staff and the officers or employees of a prospective contractor/vendor who are qualified to provide technical services to explain, clarify or demonstrate the qualities, characteristics or advantages of an article or procurement. "Technical services" shall be limited to analysis directly applying to any accounting, engineering, scientific or other similar technical disciplines.
L. 
Officers and employees of any contract agency, as that term is defined in § 189-40 of the Suffolk County Code, when seeking grant or contract funding to provide human services directly to the residents of Suffolk County.
M. 
Contacts between the County and the representatives of a public employee bargaining unit during the collective bargaining process.
LOBBYIST
Every person or organization retained, employed or designated by any client to engage in lobbying before the County of Suffolk, its agencies, boards, commissions, the County Legislature or County Executive. The term "lobbyist" shall not include any officer, director, trustee, employee, counsel or agent of the County of Suffolk or other public corporation when discharging his or her official duties.
[Amended 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
ORGANIZATION
Any corporation, company, foundation, association, labor organization, firm, partnership, joint venture, society, joint-stock company, County agency or public corporation.
PUBLIC CORPORATION
A municipal corporation or a district corporation, as defined in § 66, Subdivision 1, of the New York General Construction Law.
[1]
Editor's Note: The definition of "Commission," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015.

§ 580-3 Statement of registration.

A. 
Every lobbyist shall annually file with the Clerk of the County Legislature, on forms provided by the Clerk of the County Legislature, a statement of registration for each calendar year. The filing of such statement of registration shall not be required of any lobbyist who in any year does not expend, incur or receive an amount in excess of $1,000 of reportable compensation and expenses for the purposes of lobbying.
[Amended 3-9-1993 by L.L. No. 9-1993; 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
B. 
Such filing shall be completed on or before January 1 of each year by those persons who have been retained, employed or designated as lobbyists on or before December 15 who reasonably anticipate that in the coming year they will expend, incur or receive combined reportable compensation and expenses in an amount in excess of $1,000. For those lobbyists retained, employed or designated after December 15 and for those lobbyists who, subsequent to their retainer, employment or designation, reasonably anticipate combined reportable compensation and expenses in excess of such amount, such filing shall be completed within 15 days thereafter but in no event later than 10 days after actually incurring or receiving such reportable compensation and expenses.
C. 
Such statements of registration shall be kept on file for a period of three years and shall be open to public inspection during such period.
D. 
Such statement of registration shall contain:
(1) 
The name, address and telephone number of the lobbyist, and if the lobbyist is an organization, the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any officer or employee of such lobbyist who engages in lobbying.
[Amended 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
(2) 
The name, address and telephone number of the client by whom or on whose behalf the lobbyist is retained, employed or designated.
(3) 
If such lobbyist is retained or employed pursuant to a written agreement of retainer or employment, a copy of such shall also be attached, and if such retainer or employment is oral, a written statement of the substance thereof shall be included.
(4) 
A written authorization from the client by whom the lobbyist is authorized to lobby, unless such lobbyist has filed a written agreement of retainer or employment pursuant to Subsection D(3) above.
(5) 
A description of the general subject or subjects on which the lobbyist is lobbying or expects to lobby.
(6) 
The name of the person, organization or legislative body before whom or which the lobbyist is lobbying or expects to lobby.
E. 
If the lobbyist is retained, employed or designated by more than one client, a separate statement of registration shall be required for each such client.
F. 
Any amendment to the information filed by the lobbyist in the original statement of registration shall be submitted to the Clerk of the County Legislature, on forms supplied by the Clerk of the County Legislature, within 10 days after such amendment. However, this shall not require the lobbyist to amend the entire registration form.
[Amended 3-9-1993 by L.L. No. 9-1993]
G. 
The first statement of registration filed annually by each lobbyist shall be accompanied by a registration fee of $200. No fee shall be required for any subsequent statement of registration filed by a lobbyist during the same lobbying year.

§ 580-4 Monthly registration docket.

[Amended 3-9-1993 by L.L. No. 9-1993; 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
The Clerk of the County Legislature shall compile a monthly docket of statements of registration containing all information required by § 580-3 of this chapter. Each such monthly docket shall contain all statements of registration filed during such month and all amendments to previously filed statements of registration. Copies shall be made available for public inspection online at the County Legislature's web page. The clerical tasks performed by the office of the Clerk of the County Legislature under this section shall be undertaken by those individuals within such office who have secured County employment pursuant to a New York Civil Service Law competitive examination.

§ 580-5 Termination of retainer, employment or designation.

[Amended 3-9-1993 by L.L. No. 9-1993]
Upon the termination of a lobbyist's retainer, employment or designation, such lobbyist and the client on whose behalf such service has been rendered shall both give written notice to the Clerk of the County Legislature within 30 days after the lobbyist ceases the activity that required such lobbyist to file a statement of registration. Such lobbyist shall, nevertheless, comply with the reporting requirements for the last periodic reporting period up to the date such activity has ceased as required by this chapter, and both such parties shall each file the annual report required by § 580-7 of this chapter. The Clerk of the County Legislature shall enter notice of such termination in the appropriate monthly registration docket required by § 580-4 of this chapter. The clerical tasks performed by the office of the Clerk of the County Legislature under this section shall be undertaken by those individuals within such office who have secured County employment pursuant to a New York Civil Service Law competitive examination.

§ 580-6 Periodic reports of certain lobbyists.

[Amended 3-9-1993 by L.L. No. 9-1993; 8-29-1995 by L.L. No. 4-1996; 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
A. 
Report required. Any lobbyist required to file a statement of registration pursuant to § 580-3 of this chapter shall file with the Clerk of the County Legislature periodic written reports, on forms supplied by the Clerk of the County Legislature, by the 15th day next succeeding the end of the reporting period, and the first periodic report shall be filed by the 15th day next succeeding the end of the reporting period in which the lobbyist was first required to file a statement of registration. Such reporting periods shall be the period from January 1 to March 31, April 1 to June 30, July 1 to September 30 and October 1 to December 31.
B. 
Such periodic report shall contain:
(1) 
The name, address and telephone number of the lobbyist.
(2) 
The name, address and telephone number of the client by whom or on whose behalf the lobbyist is retained, employed or designated.
(3) 
A description of the general subject or subjects on which the lobbyist has lobbied.
(4) 
The name of the person, organization or legislative body before which the lobbyist has lobbied.
(5) 
Compensation and expenses.
(a) 
The compensation paid or owed to the lobbyist and any expenses expended, received or incurred by the lobbyist for the purpose of lobbying.
(b) 
Expenses required to be reported pursuant to Subsection B(5)(a) of this section shall be listed in the aggregate if $50 or less, and if more than $50 such expenses shall be detailed as to amount, to whom paid and for what purpose; and where such expense is more than $50 on behalf of any one person, the name of such person shall be listed. For the purposes of this subsection, "expenses" shall not include:
[1] 
Personal sustenance, lodging and travel disbursements of such lobbyist.
[2] 
Expenses not in excess of $100 in any one calendar year, directly incurred for the printing or other means of reproduction or mailing of letters, memoranda or other written communications.
(c) 
Expenses paid or incurred for compensation other than that of the lobbyist shall be listed in the aggregate.
(d) 
Expenses of more than $50 shall be paid by check or substantiated by receipts, and such checks and receipts shall be kept on file by the lobbyist for a period of three years.
C. 
Such periodic reports shall be kept on file for three years and shall be open to public inspection during such time. The clerical tasks performed by the office of the Clerk of the County Legislature under this section shall be undertaken by those individuals within such office who have secured County employment pursuant to a New York Civil Service Law competitive examination.

§ 580-7 Annual reports.

[Amended 3-9-1993 by L.L. No. 9-1993]
A. 
Annual reports shall be filed by:
[Amended 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
(1) 
Every lobbyist required to file a statement of registration pursuant to this chapter.
(2) 
Any client retaining, employing or designating a lobbyist or lobbyists, whether or not any such lobbyist was required to file a statement of registration, if during the year such client expended, received or incurred an amount in excess of $1,000 of combined reportable compensation and expenses for the purposes of lobbying.
B. 
Such report pursuant to Subsection A(1) above shall be filed with the Clerk of the County Legislature, on forms provided by the Clerk of the County Legislature, by the 15th day of January next following the year for which such report is made and shall contain on an annual cumulative basis all the information required in periodic reports by this chapter.
C. 
Such report pursuant to Subsection A(2) above shall be filed with the Clerk of the County Legislature, on forms provided by the Clerk of the County Legislature, by the 15th day of January next following the year for which such report is made and shall contain:
(1) 
The name, address and telephone number of the client.
(2) 
The name, address and telephone number of each lobbyist retained, employed or designated by such client.
(3) 
A description of the general subject or subjects on which each lobbyist retained, employed or designated by such client has lobbied, and on which such client has lobbied.
(4) 
The name of the person, organization or legislative body before which such client has lobbied.
(5) 
Compensation and expenses.
(a) 
The compensation paid or owed to each such lobbyist and any other expenses paid or incurred by such client for the purpose of lobbying.
(b) 
Any expenses required to be reported pursuant to Subsection C(5)(a) shall be listed in the aggregate if $50 or less, and if more than $50 such expenses shall be detailed as to amount, to whom paid and for what purpose; and where such expenses are more than $50 on behalf of any one person, the name of such person shall be listed. For the purposes of this subsection, "expenses" shall not include:
[1] 
Personal sustenance, lodging and travel disbursements of such lobbyist and client.
[2] 
Expenses, not in excess of $500, directly incurred for the printing or other means of reproduction or mailing of letters, memoranda or other written communications.
(c) 
Expenses paid or incurred for salaries other than that of the lobbyist shall be listed in the aggregate.
(d) 
Expenses of more than $50 shall be paid by check or substantiated by receipts and such checks and receipts shall be kept on file by such client for a period of three years.
D. 
Such annual reports shall be kept on file for three years and shall be open to public inspection during such period. The clerical tasks performed by the office of the Clerk of the County Legislature under this section shall be undertaken by those individuals within such office who have secured County employment pursuant to a New York Civil Service Law competitive examination.
[Amended 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]

§ 580-8 Statements and reports.

[Added 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015[1]]
A. 
All statements and reports required under this chapter shall be subject to a declaration by the person making and filing such statement and report that the information is true, correct and complete to the best knowledge and belief of the signer under the penalties of perjury.
B. 
For the purposes of this chapter, the chief administrative officer of any organization required to file a statement or report shall be the person responsible for making and filing such statement or report unless some other person, prior to the due date thereof, has been duly designated to make and file such statement or report.
C. 
The statements and reports filed with the Clerk of the Legislature pursuant to this chapter shall not be deemed to be confidential. The Clerk of the Legislature will maintain all statements and reports filed under this chapter and make these statements and reports available to the public in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, any rules the Clerk may prescribe and New York's Freedom of Information Law.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also renumbered former §§ 580-8 and 580-9 as §§ 580-9 and 580-10, respectively.

§ 580-9 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 5-12-2015 by L.L. No. 20-2015]
A. 
Any person or organization who or which knowingly and willfully fails to file a timely report or statement required by this chapter or knowingly and willingly files false information with the Clerk of the Legislature shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed one year.
B. 
A person or organization who fails to file a statement or report within the time required for the filing of such report shall be subject to a civil penalty, in an amount not to exceed $5,000, to be assessed by the Clerk of the Legislature. Such assessment may only be imposed after written notice of such failure and the expiration of a reasonable period within which to cure the failure. The amount of such assessment shall be determined only after a hearing at which the party shall be entitled to appear and be heard. Such assessment may be recovered in any action brought by the District Attorney.
C. 
Any person or organization who or which receives a notice from the Clerk of the Legislature of intent to assess a penalty for failing to file a report or statement pursuant to Subsection B of this section, and who has never previously received a notice of intent to assess a penalty for failing to file a report or statement required under this section, shall be granted 15 days within which to file the statement of registration or report without being subject to the penalty set forth in Subsection B of this section. Upon the failure of such person or organization to file within such fifteen-day period, such lobbyist or client shall be subject to penalty pursuant to Subsection B of this section.

§ 580-10 Rules and regulations.

The Commission is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to promulgate and issue such rules and regulations as it may deem necessary to implement and carry out this chapter.