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Orange County News For Immediate Release Contact: Christopher Borek January 30, 2023 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
District Attorney Hoovler Reminds Local Officials to Avoid
Conflicts of Interests
District Attorney Hoovler recommends that local municipal officials to ensure that they, and those who work for them abide by the General Municipal Law by disclosing and avoiding any situation where they, or their family members, benefit from their governmental positions.
Conflicts of Interests can Result in Criminal Sanctions
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler recommended on January 30, 2023, that all local governmental officials institute practices and procedures to ensure that neither they, nor those who work under them, engage in any prohibited conflict of interest. The General Municipal Law prohibits any officer or employee of any municipality, including members of any administrative board or commission, such as a zoning or planning boards, to engage in any conflict of interest. District Attorney Hoovler reminds everyone that these rules apply to essentially all those who do work for any local governmental agency, even if it is a completely unpaid or volunteer position. The General Municipal Law prohibits any of these officials or employees from having an “interest” in any contract that they deal with as a municipal official. A prohibited “interest” in a contract includes any direct or indirect monetary or material benefit to the municipal officer or employee, or to that official’s family members from the contract.
The General Municipal Law requires that municipal officials and employees disclose any conflicts of interests they may have in a matter and recuse themselves from voting or participating in any matter where they or their family could have a financial interest. Violations of these rules can result in criminal sanctions as was recently demonstrated in the cases involving the Orange County Industrial Development Agency where conflicted officials were prosecuted, not just under the General Municipal Law but were also charged with felony violations of Corrupting the Government under the Penal Law.
“Residents are entitled to honest government,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “Those who work in a public capacity should be doing so for the benefit of all, not to help themselves or their family members. It is up to municipal leaders to make sure, not only that they abide by these rules, but to make sure that all employees, and members of volunteer boards in their municipality are aware of the strictures of the General Municipal Law and abide by them. Taxpayers deserve nothing less.”