Village of Spring Valley, NY
Rockland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Spring Valley 11-23-1993 as L.L. No. 9-1993 (Ch. 2, Art. II, of the 1970 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
016a Annual Statement

§ 16-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Code of Ethics of the Village of Spring Valley."

§ 16-2 Legislative intent.

With the amending of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law, it is the intent of the Village of Spring Valley to modify its Code of Ethics to provide for annual financial disclosures by various municipal officials and employees. Further, it is the intent of this chapter to provide standards for such officials and employees with respect to disclosure of interest in legislation before the Village of Spring Valley, holding of investments in conflict with official duties, private employees with official duties, future employment and real estate interests within the county in which the village is a part thereof.

§ 16-3 Board of Ethics.

A. 
Board creation; composition; qualifications; and compensation of members. There is hereby created and established a Board of Ethics consisting of three members, one of whom shall be a village elected official, officer or employee, to be approved by a majority of the Board of Trustees, all of whom shall reside in the village and who shall serve without compensation.
[Amended 4-11-1995 by L.L. No. 1-1995]
B. 
Terms of office of members. Of the members first appointed to the Board, one shall hold office for a term of one year, one for a term of two years and one for the term of three years. Their successors shall be appointed or reappointed for terms of three years from and after the expiration of their term.
C. 
Chairman; rules and regulations; maintenance of records; Clerk. The members of the Board shall select a Chairman and, upon its formation, shall promulgate its own rules and regulations as to its forms and procedures and shall maintain appropriate records of its opinions and proceedings. The Village Clerk or Deputy Clerk shall serve as Clerk to the Board of Ethics.
D. 
Duty of Board to render advisory opinions.
(1) 
The Board shall render advisory opinions to elected officials, officers and persons appointed or employed by the village with respect to this chapter. Such opinions to be rendered only pursuant to a written request by the elected official, officer or employee concerned.
(2) 
The opinions of the Board shall be advisory and confidential and in no event shall the identity of the person employed be disclosed except to authorized persons and agencies.

§ 16-4 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AGENCY
Any village department, council, committee, board or commission of this municipality.
COMPENSATION
Remuneration in money, services, merchandise, loans, promise, travel or any other form.
CONTRACT
Any claim, account or demand against or agreement with the Village of Spring Valley, expressed or implied, and shall include the designation of a depository of public funds and the designation of an official newspaper.
ELECTED OFFICIAL
Any elected official of the Village of Spring Valley.
INTEREST
A direct or indirect pecuniary or material benefit accruing to an elected official, officer or employee as a result of a business or professional transaction with the Village of Spring Valley which said elected official, officer or employee serves. For the purpose of this chapter, an elected official, officer or employee shall be deemed to have an "interest" in the affairs of:
A. 
His/her spouse, child, stepchild, other dependent or person residing with the reporting individual of a firm, partnership or association of which said elected official, officer, employee, spouse, child, stepchild, other dependent or person residing with the reporting individual is a member.
B. 
A corporation of which said elected official, officer, employee, spouse, child, stepchild, other dependent or person residing with the reporting individual is an officer, director or employee.
C. 
A corporation, any stock of which is owned or controlled directly by said elected official, officer, employee, spouse, child, stepchild, other dependent or person residing with the reporting individual.
OFFICER or EMPLOYEE
The heads of any agency, committee, council, board or commission and their deputies and assistants or any member of any agency, committee, council, board or commission of the Village of Spring Valley, whether paid or unpaid.
POLICYMAKER
An elected official of the Village of Spring Valley, a department head employed by the Village of Spring Valley and members of all board and commissions of the Village of Spring Valley.
[Added 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
POLITICAL PARTY OFFICIAL
Any chairperson of the Village of Spring Valley subdivision of a constituted committee of a county political committee elected pursuant to the Election Law or designated by the rules of a county political committee pursuant to the rules of such county committee or, who in actual practice, possesses or performs the principal political executive and administrative functions of said Village committee or has the power of general management over the affairs of such Village committee or the power to exercise the powers of the Chairperson of such Village committee in accordance with the rules of such county committee or Village committee.
[Added 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
RELATIVE
The reporting individual's child, stepchild, other dependent or person residing with the reporting individual.
SPOUSE
Includes the married husband or wife of the reporting individual.

§ 16-5 Conflicts of interest.

A. 
No elected official, officer or employee of the village, whether paid or unpaid, shall:
(1) 
Be or become interested, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, except by operation of law, in any business or professional dealings with the village or any agency thereof.
(2) 
Act as an attorney, agent, broker, representative or employee for any person interested, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever in business or professional dealings before the Board of Trustees or any agency thereof.
(3) 
Accept other employment or engage in any business transactions or make any investments, directly or indirectly, which create a conflict with his/her official duties.
B. 
Notwithstanding the provisions hereinabove set forth, any member of a temporary committee appointed by the Board of Trustees or the Mayor and any person serving as a volunteer fireman shall not be prohibited from so serving by reason of financial, professional or business interest, unless such interest is in conflict with the proper discharge of his/her official duties.

§ 16-6 Acceptance of gifts or favors by employees.

[Amended 4-11-1995 by L.L. No. 1-1995]
No elected official, officer or employee of the village, whether paid or unpaid, shall accept any valuable gift in excess of seventy-five dollars ($75.), whether in the form of service, loan, thing or promise or any other form, from any person which to his/her knowledge is interested, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever in business or professional dealings with the village or any agency thereof.

§ 16-7 Representing private interests.

No elected official, officer or employee of the village shall represent any private interests before the Village Police Court in any litigation in which the village is a party or complainant. Such elected official, officer or employee shall be deemed to represent private interests if any partner or other business associate of such elected official, officer or employee represents private interests as aforesaid.

§ 16-8 Disclosure of interest.

A. 
Any officer or employee of the village, whether paid or unpaid, who has a direct financial or other private interest in any matter being considered by the Board of Trustees or by any other official board, agency, elected official, officer or employee of the village and who participates in discussions before or gives opinions to such board, agency or individual shall publicly disclose on the official record the nature and extent of such interest.
B. 
Any elected official, officer or employee of the village, whether paid or unpaid, who has knowledge of any matter being considered by any board, agency, elected official, officer or employee of the village in which he/she has any direct or indirect interest in such matter shall be required to disclose, in writing, his/her interest to such board, agency, elected official, officer or employee and the nature and extent thereof.

§ 16-9 Future employment.

No person who has served as an elected official, officer or employee of the village shall, within a period of (2) years after the termination of such service or employment, appear before any board or agency of the village or receive compensation for any services rendered on behalf of any person in relation to any case, proceeding or application with respect to which such person was directly concerned or in which he/she personally participated during the period of his/her service or employment or which was under his/her active consideration.

§ 16-10 Distribution of Code of Ethics.

[Added 4-11-1995 by L.L. No. 1-1995]
A. 
The Village Clerk shall post a copy of this law conspicuously and permanently in the village offices in a manner allowing public perusal of its provisions. Copies of this law shall also be made available by the Village Clerk to members of the public upon request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Law, Public Officers Law § 84 et seq.
B. 
The Village Clerk shall distribute a copy of this law to all public officers and employees. Each public officer and employee elected or appointed thereafter shall be given a copy of this law before entering upon the duties of his or her office and shall acknowledge, by signature, that a copy has been received.
C. 
Failure to distribute any such copy or failure of any officer or employee to receive such copy shall have no effect on the duty of compliance with such code, nor the enforcement provisions thereof.

§ 16-11 Financial disclosure statement requirements.

[Amended 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007[1]]
A. 
Types of statements required.
(1) 
Every policymaker and political party official and every candidate for Village elected office shall file an annual statement of financial disclosure containing such information and in such form as is set forth in § 16-11 of this chapter. Appended to the financial disclosure statement must be the first and last pages of the reporting person's Internal Revenue Service Form 1040.
(2) 
Any person who is required to file an annual statement of financial disclosure shall also file a no conflicting interest or activity affidavit at the same time. Any person who serves on a Village board or commission whose title is not listed in Schedule A shall file a no conflicting interest or activity affidavit yearly and file same by the date set forth in § 16-10B in the form set forth in this chapter.
(3) 
Refusal to file no conflicting interest or activity affidavit.
(a) 
Anyone refusing to execute and affirm the accuracy of the statement of no conflicting interest or activity shall be ineligible for appointment to any Village board, commission, committee of similar entity. In the case of confirmation of appointments by the Mayor, this statement shall be signed at or before the Board of Trustees meeting taking up and voting on said confirmation.
(b) 
If any person required to file a no conflicting interest or activity affidavit is presently appointed to any Village board, commission, committee or is employed by the Village, and such individual presently refuses to sign the aforesaid statement by the date set forth in this statute, that person's appointment shall become immediately voidable and upon resolution of the Board of Trustees passed by simple majority such appointment (should such person continue to refuse to sign) shall upon passage be void (terminated).
B. 
Such statement shall be filed on or before the 15th day of May with respect to the preceding calendar year, except that:
(1) 
A person who is subject to the reporting requirements of this section and who has timely filed with the Internal Revenue Service an application for automatic extension of time in which to file his or her individual income tax return for the immediately preceding calendar or fiscal year shall nonetheless be required to file such financial disclosure statement on or before May 15. However, such a person may, without being subjected to any civil penalty on account of a deficient statement, indicate with respect to any item of the disclosure statement that information with respect thereto is lacking but will be supplied in a supplementary statement of financial disclosure. Such supplementary statement shall be filed on or before the seventh day after the expiration of the period of such automatic extension of time within which to file such individual income tax return, provided that failure to file or to timely file such supplementary statement of financial disclosure shall be subject to the notice and penalty provisions of this chapter respecting annual statements of financial disclosure as if such supplementary statement were an annual statement.
(2) 
Candidates for Village elected office who file designating petitions for nomination at a primary election shall file a financial disclosure statement within two business days after the last day allowed by law for the filing of designating petitions naming said candidates for the next succeeding primary election.
(3) 
Candidates for independent nomination for Village elected office who have not been designated by a party to receive a nomination shall file a financial disclosure statement within two business days after the last day allowed by law for the filing of individual nominating petitions naming said candidates as candidates for Village elected official in the next succeeding general or special election.
(4) 
Candidates for Village elected office who receive the nomination of a party for a special election shall file a financial disclosure statement within two business days after the date of the meeting of the party committee at which they are nominated.
(5) 
Political party officials, and any other person required to file a financial disclosure statement, who commence employment after May 15 of any year shall file such statement within 30 days after commencing employment or of taking the position of political party official, as the case may be.
(6) 
A person who is subject to the filing requirement of both Subdivision 2 of § 73-a of the Public Officers Law and of this chapter may satisfy the requirements of this chapter by filing a copy of the financial disclosure statement filed pursuant to § 73-a of the Public Officers Law with the Rockland County Board of Ethics on or before the filing deadline provided in such § 73-a, notwithstanding the filing deadline otherwise imposed by this subsection.
(7) 
A person who is subject to the filing requirement of this chapter from more than one political subdivision within Rockland County may satisfy the requirements of this chapter by filing only one annual financial disclosure statement with the Board of Ethics of the Village of Spring Valley. If such political subdivision crosses one or more county boundary lines, then such single filing may be made for any of the counties in which one of such political subdivision is located; provided, however, that the Board of Ethics is notified of the name of the county of such compliance by the person who is subjected to the filing requirements of this chapter, within the time limit for filing specified in this chapter.
(8) 
A county elected official who is simultaneously a candidate for county elected official shall satisfy the filing deadline requirements of this subsection by complying only with the deadline applicable to one who holds such county elected office.
(9) 
A candidate whose name will appear on both a party-designating petition and on an independent nominating petition for the same office or who will be listed on the election ballot for the same office more than once shall satisfy the filing deadline requirements of this chapter by complying with the earliest applicable deadline only.
(10) 
Upon the request of any person subject to the filing requirement of this chapter, the Board of Ethics shall grant an additional period of time within which to file such statement, such additional period not to exceed 15 days. Upon a showing to the Board of justifiable cause or undue hardship, such initial additional period may be further extended for a period not to exceed 15 days.
(11) 
A person who is required to file an annual financial disclosure statement with the Board of Ethics and who is granted an additional period of time within which to file such statement due to justifiable cause or undue hardship, in accordance with required rules and regulations on this subject, shall file such statement within the additional period of time granted.
C. 
As used in this section, the terms "party," "committee" (when used in conjunction with the term "party"), "designation," "primary election," "nomination," "independent nomination," "ballot" and "uncontested office" shall have the same meanings as those contained in § 1-104 of the Election Law.
D. 
The annual financial disclosure statement shall be submitted to the Board of Ethics in a sealed envelope. The Board, its employees or agents shall keep, as a matter of public record, a log of all such filings by name and date on which such filing was received. The Board shall open the same to determine that said form is complete. Thereafter, the Board shall keep said filings in a closed file except as hereafter provided.
E. 
Said financial disclosure statement shall be solely for the purpose of evaluation by the Board of Ethics of the legitimacy of any charges made against any person covered by this chapter as set forth in §§ 16-15 and 16-16 of this chapter.
F. 
The Board of Ethics shall obtain from the Rockland County Board of Elections lists of all candidates for county elected office and, from such lists, shall determine and officially publish lists of those candidates who have not, within two days after the required date for filing a financial disclosure statement, filed the statement required by this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also renumbered former § 16-11 as § 16-12 and former § 16-12 as § 16-15.

§ 16-12 Annual statement of financial disclosure form.

[Added 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
The annual statement of financial disclosure shall contain the information and shall be set in the form set forth below.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The financial disclosure form is included at the end of this chapter.

§ 16-13 Officers and employees required to disclose.

[Added 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
Persons holding any of the positions listed in Schedule A annexed hereto[1] shall be considered policymakers for the purpose of filing annual statements of financial disclosure, pursuant to this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: Schedule A is a file in the Village Clerk's office.

§ 16-14 No conflicting interest or activity affidavit.

[Added 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
The no conflicting interest or activity form shall be as follows:
DISCLOSURE, ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND AFFIRMATION OF NO CONFLICTING INTEREST OR ACTIVITY, WHICH WOULD CONSTITUTE A PERSONAL GAIN OR A CONFLICT OF INTEREST. (Short-Form Disclosure Affirmation)
With full knowledge and awareness I affirm that I do not have, I have not engaged in, and I will not engage in any activity that would provide a personal or pecuniary gain to myself, my spouse, or my dependent(s) from the activity (activities) in which I now give (or am about to give) my services, to the Village of Spring Valley or any affiliated or associated board, commission or agency thereof.
Dated: ____________________
____________________
Signature
____________________
Printed Name
____________________
Board or Activity

§ 16-15 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
A. 
A reporting individual who knowingly and willfully fails to file an annual statement of financial disclosure or who, knowingly and willfully with intent to deceive, makes a false statement or gives information which such individual knows to be false on such statement of financial disclosure filed pursuant to this article shall be assessed a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $10,000. Assessment of a civil penalty shall be made by the Board of Ethics with respect to persons subject to its jurisdiction. The Board of Ethics acting pursuant to this chapter may impose a civil penalty as aforesaid, and said Board shall refer a violation to the appropriate prosecutor, and upon such conviction, but only after such referral, such violation shall be punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.
B. 
A civil penalty for false filing may not be imposed hereunder in the event that a "value" or "amount" reported upon as required by this chapter is incorrect, unless such reported information is willfully understated. No other penalty, civil or criminal, may be imposed for a failure to file or for a false filing of such statement of financial disclosure, except that disciplinary action may be imposed as otherwise provided by law or as may be provided by professional oversight or licensing agencies.
C. 
The Board of Ethics shall be deemed to be an agency within the meaning of Article 3 of the State Administrative Procedure Act and shall adopt rules governing the conduct of adjudicatory proceedings relating to the assessment of the civil penalties herein authorized. Such rules, which shall not be subject to the approval requirements of the State Administrative Procedure Act, shall provide for due process procedural mechanisms substantially similar to those set forth in such Article 3, but such mechanisms need not be identical in terms of scope. Such rules shall be subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees and shall not be effective until so approved.
D. 
Assessment of a civil penalty shall be final unless modified, suspended or vacated within 30 days of imposition and, upon becoming final, shall be subject to the review at the instance of the affected reporting individual in proceeding against the Board of Ethics pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

§ 16-16 Additional powers of Board of Ethics.

[Added 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
A. 
The Board may delegate authority to its Chairperson to call meetings of the Board and to make preliminary review of any matter before the Board; provided, however, that any such review is subject to further review and ratification by the Board.
B. 
The Board may appoint such staff as are deemed necessary by the Board of Trustees to carry out its duties under this chapter, with the appropriations and budget established by the Board of Trustees.
C. 
The Board may recommend that the Board of Trustees adopt, amend and rescind rules and regulations to govern procedures and financial disclosure required hereunder. The Board may utilize or modify such rules or regulations or adopt, subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees, separate rules or regulations for the purposes of Subdivision (d) of § 811 of the General Municipal Law.
D. 
The Board may promulgate guidelines to assist the Board of Trustees in determining which persons hold policymaking positions for the purposes of this chapter.
E. 
The Board may make available forms for annual statements of financial disclosure required to be filed pursuant to this chapter.
F. 
The Board may review completed financial disclosure statements in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
G. 
The Board may receive complaints alleging a violation of the provisions of this chapter or a violation of the criteria for reporting requirements established by this chapter.
H. 
The Board may recommend to the Board of Trustees rules and regulations relating to possible conflicts between private interests and official duties of elected officials, political party officials, officers and employees, and candidates for county elective office.
I. 
The Board may act as repository for completed financial disclosure forms filed pursuant to this chapter.
J. 
Upon certification of a question, the Board may determine a question common to a class or defined category of persons or items of information required to be disclosed, where determination of the question will prevent undue repetition or prevent undue complication in complying with the requirements of such section.
K. 
In addition to any other powers and duties specified by law, the Board shall have the power and duty to:
(1) 
Administer and enforce all the provisions of this chapter.
(2) 
Conduct any investigation necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. Pursuant to this power and duty, the Board may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance and require the production of any books or records which it may deem relevant or material.

§ 16-17 Availability of records for public inspection.

[Added 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
A. 
The records of the Board which shall be available for public inspection are:
(1) 
Notices of delinquency;
(2) 
Notices of reasonable cause;
(3) 
Notices of civil assessments imposed under this chapter; and
(4) 
Information provided in an annual statement of financial disclosure filed pursuant to this chapter, except the categories of value or amount and the first and last pages of Internal Revenue Service Form 1040, all of which shall remain confidential.
B. 
Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 7 of the Public Officers Law, no meeting or proceeding of the Board shall be open to the public unless expressly requested to be made public by an individual to whom such meeting or proceeding directly relates. Such a request shall be granted only if the privacy rights of other involved individuals will not be compromised thereby.

§ 16-18 Review of financial disclosure statements.

[Added 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
A. 
The Board shall inspect all financial disclosure statements filed with it to ascertain whether any person subject to the reporting requirements has failed to file such a statement, has filed a deficient statement or has filed a statement which reveals a possible violation of this chapter.
B. 
If a person required to file a financial disclosure statement with the Board has failed to file a disclosure statement or has filed a deficient statement, the Board shall notify the reporting person in writing, state the failure to file or detail the deficiency and advise the person of the penalties for failure to comply with the reporting requirements. The Board may, in respect to deficiency that is not willful, provide the person with a period of time, not to exceed 15 days, to cure the deficiency. Such notice shall be confidential. If the person fails to make such filing or fails to cure the deficiency within the specified time period, the Board shall send a notice of delinquency:
(1) 
To the reporting individual; and
(2) 
In the case of an officer or employee, to the appointing authority for such person.

§ 16-19 Investigations of violations.

[Added 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
A. 
If a reporting individual has filed a statement which reveals a possible violation of this chapter, or the Board receives a sworn complaint alleging such a violation, or if the Board determines on its own initiative to investigate a possible violation, the Board shall notify the reporting individual in writing, describe the possible or alleged violation of such law and provide the person with a fifteen-day period in which to submit a written response setting forth information relating to the activities cited as a possible or alleged violation of such law and provide the person with a fifteen-day period in which to submit a written response setting forth information relating to the activities cited as a possible or alleged violation of law. If the Board thereafter makes a determination that further inquiry is justified, it shall give the reporting person an opportunity to be heard. The Board shall also inform the reporting person of its rules regarding the conduct of adjudicatory proceedings and appeals and the due process procedural mechanisms available to such person. If the Board determines at any stage of the proceeding that there is no violation or that any potential conflict of interest violation has been rectified, it shall so advise the reporting person and the complainant, if any. All of the foregoing proceedings shall be confidential.
B. 
If the Board determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that violation has occurred, it shall send a notice of reasonable cause:
(1) 
To the reporting individual;
(2) 
To the complainant, if any; and
(3) 
In the case of an officer or employee, to the appointing authority for such person.
C. 
Such notice of reasonable cause shall specify, in detail, the violation alleged to have occurred. The reporting person shall be given a thirty-day period to respond to such notice, and to request a hearing before the Board. The reporting person may be represented by counsel at all stages of this process. Such hearing shall be conducted pursuant to rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Board, which rules and regulations shall be designed to ensure that the reporting person is afforded the due process of law. Testimony before the Board shall be under oath, where the Board shall make its determination and assess, if appropriate, any penalty provided in this chapter, including civil penalty and referral for prosecution. Such determination, assessment and referral shall be open to the public.
D. 
A copy of any notice of delinquency, notice of reasonable cause, determination after hearing, notice of civil assessment or referral for prosecution shall be included in the reporting person's file and be available for public inspection.

§ 16-20 Advisory opinions.

[Added 7-10-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
Upon written request from any person, the Board shall render advisory opinions on the requirements of said provisions following consultation with the Office of the Village Attorney. Advisory opinions as to specific acts or omissions of any person subject to the jurisdiction of the Board may only be rendered to the person whose act or omission, or contemplated act or omission, is the subject of the request for opinion. An opinions rendered by the Board in any subsequent proceeding concerning the person who requested the opinion and who acted thereon in good faith, unless material facts were omitted or misstated by the person in the request for an opinion, may also be relied upon by such person and may be introduced and shall be a defense in any criminal or civil action. Such requests shall be confidential, but the Board may publish such opinions, provided that the name of the requesting person and other identifying details shall not be included in the publication.