[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of New Hyde Park 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 2-2002. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Indemnification of Officers and Employees Law of the Incorporated Village of New Hyde Park, New York."
The purpose of this chapter is to provide legal and financial protection for those individuals serving the Village from damages which may be claimed against them in their individual capacity for actions taken while in the performance of their official duties and responsibilities. In enacting this chapter, the Board of Trustees finds that the State of New York. has enacted similar provisions for the legal and financial security of its officers and employees and further finds that such security is also required for local personnel. By enactment of this chapter, the Board of Trustees does not intend to limit or otherwise abrogate any existing right or responsibility of the Village or its employees with regard to indemnification or legal defense. It is solely the intent of this chapter to provide similar coverage for local officers and employees as is currently provided for state officers and employees, so as to continue to attract qualified individuals to local government service.
As used in this chapter, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- Any person holding a position by election, appointment or employment in the service of the Incorporated Village of New Hyde Park, whether or not compensated, or a volunteer expressly authorized to participate in a municipally sponsored volunteer program, but shall not include an independent contractor. The term "officer" or "employee" shall include a former officer or employee, his estate or judicially appointed personal representative.
Upon compliance by the officer or employee with the provisions of this chapter, the Village shall provide for the defense of the officer or employee in any civil action or proceeding in any state or federal court arising out of any alleged act or omission which occurred or is alleged in the complaint to have occurred while the officer or employee was acting or in good faith purporting to act within the scope of his or her public employment or duties, or which is brought to enforce a provision of Section 1981 or 1993 of Title 42 of the United States Code. Such defense shall not be provided where such civil action or proceeding is brought by or on behalf of the Village.
Subject to the conditions set forth in this chapter, the officer or employee shall be represented by the Village Attorney. The Board of Trustees shall employ or retain a private attorney for the defense of the officer or employee whenever the Village does not have a Village Attorney; the Board of Trustees determines, based upon its investigation and review of the facts and circumstances of the case, that representation by the Village Attorney would be inappropriate; or a court of competent jurisdiction determines that a conflict of interest exists and that the officer or employee cannot be properly represented by the Village Attorney. Reasonable attorney's fees and litigation expenses shall be paid by the Village to such attorney employed or retained, from time to time, during the pendency of the civil action or proceeding, subject to certification by the Mayor and the approval by the Board of Trustees that the officer or employee is entitled to representation under the terms and conditions of this chapter.
The Village Attorney and/or Village Administrator shall notify the employee in writing of such determination that the officer or employee will be represented by an attorney employed or retained by the Village. The Village Attorney may require, as a condition to payment of the fees and expenses of such representation, that multiple groups of such employees be represented by the same counsel. If the officer or employee or group of officers or employees will be represented by an attorney employed or retained by the Village under the provisions of this subsection, the Village Attorney shall so certify to the Village Board. Payment of such fees and expenses shall be made in the same manner as payment of other claims and expenses of the Village. Any dispute with respect to representation of multiple officers or employees by the Village Attorney or by an attorney employed or retained for such purposes or with respect to the amount of the fees or expenses shall be resolved by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Where the officer or employee delivers process and a request for defense to the Village Attorney or the Mayor as required by § 16-5 of this chapter, the Village Attorney or the Mayor, as the case may be, shall take the necessary steps, including the retention of an attorney under the terms and conditions provided in Subsection B of this section, on behalf of the officer or employee to avoid entry of a default judgment, pending resolution of any question relating to the obligation of the Village to provide a defense.
An officer or employee represented by private counsel shall cause to be submitted to the Board of Trustees any proposed settlement which may be subject to indemnification by the Village and, if not inconsistent with the provisions of this section, the Mayor shall certify such settlement and submit such settlement and certification to the Village Attorney. The Village Attorney shall review such proposed settlement as to form and amount, and shall give his or her approval if, in his or her judgment, the settlement is in the best interest of the Village. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to authorize the Village to indemnify or save harmless an officer or employee with respect to a settlement not so reviewed and approved by the Village Attorney.
Upon entry of a final judgment against the officer or employee, or upon the settlement of a claim, the officer or employee shall cause to be served a copy of such judgment or settlement, personally or by certified or registered mail within 30 days of the date of entry or settlement, upon the Mayor; and if not inconsistent with the provisions of this section, such judgment or settlement shall be certified for payment by the Mayor.
The duties to defend provided in this chapter shall be contingent upon delivery by the officer or the employee to the Village Attorney or, if none, to the Mayor, of the original or a copy of any summons, complaint, process, notice, demand or pleading within five days after he or she is served with such document and upon the full cooperation of the officer or employee in the defense of such action or proceeding and defense of any action or proceeding against the Village based upon the same act or omission and in the prosecution of any appeal. Such delivery shall be deemed a request by the officer or employee that the Village provide for his or her defense pursuant to this chapter, unless the officer or employee shall state in writing that the defense is not requested.
The benefits of this chapter will inure only to officers and employees, as defined herein, and shall not enlarge or diminish the rights of any other party; nor shall any provision of this chapter be construed to affect, alter or repeal any provisions of the Workers' Compensation Law.
The benefits of this chapter shall be extended to an employee of a negotiating unit for which an agreement has been negotiated pursuant to the Civil Service Law, Article 14, only if such agreement expressly so provides.
The provisions of this chapter shall not be construed to impair, alter, limit or modify the rights and obligations of any insurer under any policy of insurance.
As otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, the provisions of this chapter shall not be construed in any way to impair, alter, limit, modify, abrogate or restrict any immunity available to or conferred upon any unit, entity, officer or employee of the Village or any right to defense provided for any governmental officer or employee by, in accordance with, or by reason of any other provision of state or federal statutory or common law.
Pursuant to the provisions of § 18 of the Public Officers Law, the Board of Trustees hereby agrees to be held liable for costs incurred under the provisions of the section, by conferring upon the officers and employees of the Village the benefits of § 18 of such law. The benefits shall supplement, and be available in addition to, defense or indemnification protection conferred by another enactment.