[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]145a Uncod LL Pro
Article I Liability and Casualty Claims
Article II Mitigating County Liability
[Adopted 2-26-1980 by L.L. No. 6-1980 (Ch. 105, Art. I, of the 1985 Code)]
Chapter 684 of the Laws of 1979 of the State of New York added a new § 6-n to the General Municipal Law of this state authorizing the establishment by the County of liability and casualty reserve funds.
Said section authorizes the payment of claims out of said fund by the persons authorized to settle or compromise claims by the County.
The County Legislature wishes to establish a procedure whereby such claims are to be settled.
The County hereby establishes a reserve fund known as the "Liability and Casualty Reserve Fund," which shall consist of such moneys as are budgeted or otherwise appropriated by the County Legislature. The cash balance of such fund at the end of any fiscal year shall not exceed the greater of $100,000 or 5% of the total budget for such fiscal year. The amount paid into such fund during any fiscal year shall not exceed the greater of $33,000 or 1 2/3% of the budget for such fiscal year.
The County Legislature may, by resolution, designate a County independent claims management agent. The County Executive is authorized to enter into a contract with such claims management agent relating to the settlement of liability and casualty claims against the County.
Subject to and in accordance with the provisions of § 6-n of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York, the Insurance Manager of Suffolk County is hereby authorized to make settlement of such claims on the following basis:
Payment of a sum not to exceed $10,000 in settlement of such a claim with the advice of the County's agent and the approval of the County's Insurance Manager or his designee.
Payment of a sum not to exceed $25,000 in settlement of such claim with the advice of the County's agent and the approval of both the County's Insurance Manager or his designee and the County Attorney or his designee.
Payment of a sum in excess of $25,000 in settlement of such claim with the approval of the County Attorney or his designee and the Insurance Committee of the Suffolk County Legislature.
Nothing herein contained shall prohibit the payment of any judgment against the County by the general funds of the County without resort to the Liability and Casualty Reserve Fund.
[Adopted 6-20-1989 by L.L. No. 20-1989 (Ch. 105, Art. II, of the 1985 Code)]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that numerous cases are settled by the County of Suffolk in which plaintiffs are awarded damages and compensation for injuries or property damage resulting from actions by County employees during the course of the performance of their duties and functions as County employees.
This Legislature further finds and determines that the factual circumstances justifying settlements of these cases must be discussed within executive session conducted by the Ways and Means Committee of the County Legislature prior to the approval of such settlements because of the need to protect the County against further liability that may arise out of public disclosure of such facts.
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that remedial action to protect against reoccurrence of the facts and circumstances that gave rise to the liability in the first instance is not necessarily taken by County department heads to correct those practices or activities.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to establish a formal procedure and program to ensure that actions will be taken by pertinent County departments and agencies to correct or remedy policies or actions that have given rise to County liability in lawsuits that have been settled by the County of Suffolk so as to ensure prevention of any repetition of such liability, while protecting the County from the potential adverse impact of pending and future litigation.
The Suffolk County Insurance and Risk Management Unit, in conjunction with the Office of Personnel and Labor Relations, shall issue a written report to the County Attorney on July 1 and December 31 of each year, outlining actions which have been taken by departments, divisions, bureaus, agencies, commissions or other entities of County government to correct, remedy or mitigate facts, procedures, policies or programs that have given rise to actual damages paid by the County of Suffolk through lawsuits that are approved for settlement through executive session conducted by the Ways and Means Committee, or any successor committee thereto, of the Suffolk County Legislature.
Such reports shall include those actions which have been accomplished by administrative fiat, personnel decisions, executive order or administrative action. Said reports shall also list those actions which still require legislative authorization or approval for implementation.
Such reports shall conceal the identity of any individuals, including County employees, who may have been involved in the incidents giving rise to the underlying liability so as to protect the privacy rights of such individuals. Such reports shall specify those facts that must be kept confidential by members of the legislative committee because of any potential adverse impact on other ongoing or pending litigation involving the County of Suffolk.
All County departments, agencies, divisions, bureaus and other entities shall cooperate with the Suffolk County Insurance and Risk Management Unit and Office of Personnel and Labor Relations in developing these semiannual reports by forwarding such information as shall be requested by the Suffolk County Insurance and Risk Management Unit.
The County Attorney shall provide copies of these reports to the Chairman and each member of the Ways and Means Committee, or any successor committee thereto, of the Suffolk County Legislature, during executive session only of that committee held in January and July of each year, consistent with the interests of the County as described in Subsection C of this section.