[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 1-24-1995 by L.L. No. 10-1995 (Ch. 421 of the 1985 Code). Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that our senior citizens constitute a treasured resource, as evidenced by the enormous contributions they have made to our society, to our young people and to our community, who in their twilight years become the most fragile and vulnerable segment of our society, thereby deserving of our utmost protection against individuals or businesses intent on exploiting them for economic benefit or advantage.
This Legislature hereby finds that recent incidents and allegations revolving around the loss of ownership to real property by senior citizens only highlights the need for a clear, definitive statement of the rights of senior citizens to be protected right here in Suffolk County.
Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to establish safeguards and protections for senior citizens in their dealings with officials and employees of Suffolk County government.
Any senior citizen, age 60 or over, residing within the County of Suffolk shall, to the maximum extent feasible, be protected against violence, domestic abuse, criminal conduct, economic exploitation, health hazards, sickness and unfair dealings by municipal employees.
Any County program offered to senior citizens, age 60 or over, which requires a commitment, pledge or use of financial resources owned or controlled by said senior citizen, either in the form of cash, security, stocks, collateral, real property, bonds, personal property, assignment of benefits, moneys, pension funds, retirement funds or any other item of pecuniary value, shall be subject to the requirement that such senior citizen be advised by at least two individuals in person, duly designated and authorized by the Office for the Aging in the Division of Human Services (or any successor entity thereto), as to their legal rights under such a program and as to the financial consequences of participating in such a program, such advice to be accompanied by a written notice describing such legal rights and financial consequences in plain and simple English and in capitalized print. This designation and authorization may include representatives from a senior citizens advocacy group, representatives from a contract agency, individuals assigned from another County department or agency to work with the Office for the Aging or representatives from a pertinent nonprofit or not-for-profit corporation committed to working on senior citizens' issues.
No County officer or employee shall, in administering or providing any such program, or a benefit under such program to a senior citizen age 60 or over, enter into any contract or business or professional dealing with said individual senior citizen, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever related to such program or benefit, except by operation of law; invest or hold any investment, directly or indirectly, in any financial, business, commercial or other private transaction related to such program or benefit, with said senior citizen age 60 or over, which creates a conflict with his or her official duties; or approve of or enter into any agreement, contract, lease or business, commercial or professional transaction related to such program or benefit, with any such senior citizen age 60 or over, that results in a direct or indirect pecuniary or material benefit accruing to such County officer or employee as a result of the agreement, contract, lease or business, commercial or professional transaction with said individual. This prohibition shall extend to the spouse, brother, sister, parents, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, parent-in-law, niece or nephew of such County officer or employee.
This chapter shall apply to actions taken by County officers or County employees on or after the effective date of this chapter.
Any contract, agreement, lease or business, commercial or professional arrangement willfully and intentionally entered into by such a County officer or employee, in which there is an interest prohibited by this chapter, shall be null and void ab initio.
Any willful and knowing violation of § 735-2C of this chapter by a County officer or employee shall constitute cause for forfeiture of pay, suspension or removal from office or discharge from employment in the form and manner as provided by law.