Snow tubing been canceled this weekend, 1/21/17 & 1/22/17 due to weather conditions.

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The below Frequently Asked Questions and Answers are informational only. They are compiled by County employees and do not replace or modify the requirements of the law. Persons seeking guidance/opinions on their conduct or potential conduct from the Board of Ethics can contact the Board of Ethics directly. In addition, unionized employees of Orange County are entitled to avail themselves of all the rights of their union contract and can determine for themselves whether they wish to contact their union representative prior to contacting the Board of Ethics.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Board of Ethics?

What are the requirements to be a Board Member?

Who are the current members of the Board?

Are the Board meetings open to the public?

Who can report a violation of the Ethics and Disclosure Local Law?

How do I report a violation or inquiry to the Board of Ethics?

Will my inquiry/report of violation be kept confidential?

What is a gift or “financial benefit”?

May county employees or officers accept a gift or a “financial benefit”?

What is confidential information and county employees and officers disclose such information?

What is a conflict of interest?

May County officers or employees seek or accept private employment?

What do I do if I am not sure if working a part time job creates a conflict or impairs the proper discharge of my official duties?”

Are there restrictions on future employment?

Are there any exceptions to this Rule?

What are the penalties for violating the Orange County Ethics Law?

Who must file a Financial Disclosure Statement?

Where can I find a Financial Disclosure Statement form?

When do I need to file?

Where do I send my Financial Disclosure Statement?

Will there be any training?

Is my Financial Disclosure Statement subject to FOIL?




What is the Board of Ethics?

Local Law No. 5 of 2015 established the Board of Ethics. The Board is comprised of 7 members: appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the Orange County Legislature. The Board is charged with the following major responsibilities:

to render advisory opinions to county officers and employees on ethics and conflicts of interest under New York State and Local Law No. 5 of 2015.

to receive and act on complaints/allegations from the general public, county officers or employees;

to review all annual Financial Disclosure forms; and

to administer the provisions of Local Law No 5 of 2015.

What are the requirements to be a Board Member?

All Board members must reside and be eligible to vote in Orange County.
No member shall hold the office of Chair, First Vice Chair, Second Vice Chair, Secretary, or Sargent at Arms in a federal state or Orange County political party.


Who are the current members of the Board?

Gail Sicina Richard B. Golden
Marcus Horrego, Sr. Paul Johnson
Frederick Witt Jeffrey G. Berry
And one more member yet to be nominated by the Chair of Legislature

Are the Board meetings open to the public?

Yes, the meetings are open to the public, although certain matters may be discussed in executive session.  


Who can report a violation of the Ethics and Disclosure Local Law?

Anyone from the general public or any county officer or employee may file a complaint or an allegation of a conflict of interest or violation under this local law of any officer of employee of the County of Orange.  


How do I report a violation or inquiry to the Board of Ethics?

You must send a signed complaint to:

Orange County Board of Ethics
15 Matthews Street, Suite 202
Goshen, New York 10924
Attention: Confidential Secretary  


Will my inquiry/report of violation be kept confidential?

All complaints or allegations of a conflict of interest or violation of the Ethics and Disclosure Local Law are kept in the confidential records of the Board, unless made public by the Board after there has been a determination that there has been a violation. In addition, a Court could Order the complaint or allegation to be unsealed.  




What is a gift or “financial benefit”?
May a county officer or employee accept a gift or financial benefit?

The Code of Ethics defines a gift as any gift having a value of $75 or more in any 12 month consecutive period.

A “gift” or “financial benefit” includes any money, service, license, permit, contract, authorization, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, or any promise thereof or any other gratuity or promise thereof or anything of value.

A “gift” and “financial benefit” does not include campaign contributions authorized by law.

Excluded Items:
Items or services excluded by the local law including under Section 6 F. (2), include the following:

Gifts from family members, members of the same household or friends;

Complimentary attendance, including food and beverages at a charitable or political event;

County approved reimbursement for travel, meals and accommodations for food or beverages valued at fifteen dollars or less;

Payment for attendance by any for-profit, non-profit association or organization whereby the county officer or employee receives professional training or assistance directly related to their position or duties;

Awards and plaques;

Honorary degrees;

Goods, services or discounts offered to the general public  


What is confidential information and can county employees and officers disclose such information?

Confidential information is information acquired in the course of official duties or otherwise that is not subject to the New York State Freedom of Information Law.  


What is a conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest exists when an county elected official county officer or employee knowingly acquires, solicits, negotiates for, or accepts any interest, employment or anything of value which would put them in violation of the Orange County Ethics Law, including but not limited to solicitation of employment for themselves, their spouse, a child, member of household of any county contractor if that individual has discretion to award a contract to such contractor or has the authority to appropriate money for such specific contract.

Whether a conflict of interest exists under particular facts (or with respect to a particular employee) can best be ascertained by seeking an Advisory Opinion, in advance of engaging in the questioned conduct, from the Board of Ethics.  


May County employees and officers or seek or accept private employment?

Employees and county officers shall not engage in, solicit, negotiate for, or promise to accept private employment or render services for private interests when such employment or services creates a conflict or impairs the proper discharge of his or her official duties.  


What do I do if I am not sure if working a part time job creates a conflict or impairs the proper discharge of my official duties?

All employees and officers can and should seek an advisory opinion from the Ethics Board. They are there to help you.  


Are there restrictions on future employment?

Yes. No county officer or employee responsible for appropriating funds for the effectuation of, or negotiating or authorizing a contract may ask for, pursue or accept a private post-government employment opportunity with any person or entity who actually received such contract for a period of two years after ceasing to be an officer or employee of Orange County.  


Are there any exceptions to this Rule?

Yes. This restriction may be waived by the Board of Ethics upon a finding, based upon clear and convincing evidence, that an appropriator, negotiating or contracting person on behalf of the County had no direct involvement with the selection of the contractor or that the involvement was limited to issuing an approval of or appropriation for a recommended contractor that the approver or appropriator was not otherwise involved with the selection.  


What are the penalties for violating the Ethics and Disclosure Local Law Ethics?

Civil Penalties: The Board of Ethics may impose civil penalties in an amount not to exceed $10,000 or the value of any financial benefit obtained by the violator or the spouse, child, or member of the household, whichever is greater.

Criminal Penalties: The Board of Ethics may, in lieu of a civil penalty, refer a violation to the appropriate prosecutor, and upon conviction, but only after such referral, such violation shall be punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.

Disciplinary Action: Any county officer or employee who violates any provisions of the Ethics and Disclosure law may be warned, reprimanded, suspended or removed from office or employment, and/or be subject to any other sanction authorized by law or collective bargaining agreement by the appointing authority or body authorized by law to impose such sanctions. A warning, reprimand, suspension, removal or other authorized sanction may be imposed in addition to any other penalty contained in the Ethics and Disclosure Law.  


Who must file a Financial Disclosure Statement?

A. County officers, employees and contractors.

Annual disclosure statements shall be filed by all elected county officials, department heads and their deputies and those individuals who are employees of contractors and have the authority for policy making decisions including but not limited to the list of titles and contractors appended to the Ethics and Disclosure Local Law which may be amended from time to time.
B. County political party officials.

C. Any person who shall become a candidate for the office of any elected official of Orange County.  


Where can I find a Financial Disclosure Statement form?

The Financial Disclosure Statement is available on the Orange County Board of Ethics website.  


When do I need to file?

- Annual Disclosure Statements must be filed by no later than May 1st of each year.
- Within 60 days of taking office or
- For candidates for county offices, within 7 days after the filing of the nominating petitions of said candidate.  


Where do I send my Financial Disclosure Statement?

Annual disclosure statements shall be filed with:

Secretary of the Board of Ethics
Board of Ethics
15 Matthews Street
Goshen, New York 10924  



Will there be any training?

Yes. All county officers and employees will be offered training on the Ethics and Disclosure Law. All individuals who are required to fill out the Financial Disclosure Statement will receive training in March of 2016. Thereafter, all other employees will receive training.  


Is my Financial Disclosure Statement subject to FOIL?

Yes but with redactions.
All filed Financial Disclosure statements for county elected officials (County Executive, Sheriff, District Attorney, County Clerk and Legislators) will be posted on the Orange County website with redactions. All other filed financial disclosure statements will be available to the public for inspection and photocopying in accordance with New York State Freedom of Information Law.

What will be redacted: Prior to public disclosure, the following personal information will be redacted: your address, phone number, email address, the names of your minor children, and any other relevant information determined by the Ethics Board necessary or appropriate.