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A conflict of interest exists when an 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 County Ethics Law, including but not limited to solicitation of employment with a County contractor for themselves, their spouse, a child, or a member of the household if that individual has discretion to award a contract to such contractor or has the authority to appropriate money for such specific contract.
To determine if a potential conflict of interest exists (or with respect to a particular employee) an Advisory Opinion should be sought from the OCBE, prior to engaging in the questioned conduct.
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The purpose of the OCBE is to ensure County officers and employees adhere to Local Law No. 9 of 2018, entitled the Orange County Ethics and Disclosure Law and known as the “County Ethics Law”. The County Ethics Law states, “Officers and employees of the County of Orange hold their positions to serve and benefit the public and not for obtaining unwarranted personal or private gain in the exercise and performance of their official powers and duties.
The OCBE is comprised of 7 members appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the Orange County Legislature. The major responsibilities of the OCBE are:
All Board members must both 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.
The current members of the OCBE are:
• Dr. Paul K. Johnson, Chair • Marcus Horrego, Sr.• Judge Jeffrey G. Berry - Retired• Daniel B. Clarino• Gordon L. Dean• Melissa Bonacic
Yes. The meetings are open to the public, although certain matters may be discussed in a closed Executive Session.
The OCBE may accept a complaint or allegation of conflict of interest regarding any County officer or employee from a member of the OCBE, anyone in the general public, or any County officer or employee.
All complaints, requests for Advisory Opinions or any other inquiries by the public, County employees or appointees must be in writing and be signed. In accordance with the County Ethics Law, no verbal or anonymous requests or complaints will be considered by the OCBE and no action will be taken to follow up on such matters. All requests for Advisory Opinions and other inquiries by County officers or employees shall be fully explained in writing and signed. All written and signed complaints of potential violations of the County Ethics Law, shall be filed on a Complaint Form and contain as much detail as possible.
All complaints or allegations of a conflict of interest or violation of the County Ethics Law are kept in the confidential records of the OCBE, unless made public by the OCBE after there has been a determination that there has been a violation. In addition, a Court may order a complaint or allegation to be unsealed.
The County Ethics Law defines a gift as any gift having a value of $75 or more in any 12-month consecutive period from the same individual or entity. A “gift” of “financial benefit” includes, but is not limited to; any money, service, loan, travel, lodging, meals, refreshments, entertainment, discount, forbearance, or promise, having a monetary value. A “gift” and “financial benefit” does not include campaign contributions authorized by law.Excluded Items:
Items or services excluded by Section 6.F.(2) of the County Ethics Law include, but are not limited to:
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.
County officers and employees 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.
All employees and officers can and should seek an Advisory Opinion from the OCBE. They are there to help you.
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.
Yes. This restriction may be waived by the OCBE 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.
A Waiver Form, which is available on the OCBE’s website, should be filed by the County officer or employee prior to accepting future employment to ensure there is no conflict of interest.
Disclosure Forms are available on the OCBE’s website. Forms are generally sent by the OCBE to those individuals required to file, by end of February of the following year. For example, 2023 Disclosure Forms will be sent out by the end of February 2024.
Disclosure Forms shall be filed with:
Orange County Board of Ethics40 Matthews Street, Suite 101Goshen, New York 10924Attention: Confidential Secretary
Completed forms may also be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, but with redactions.
All Disclosure Forms filed by County elected officials (County Executive, Sheriff, District Attorney, County Clerk and Legislators) will be posted on the OCBE website with redactions. All other filed Disclosure Forms will be available to the public for inspection and photocopying in accordance with FOIL.
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, the signature of the filer and notary and any other relevant information the BOE deems necessary or appropriate.