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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.
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Local Law No. 9 of 2018 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:
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.
The current members of the board are:
Yes. The meetings are open to the public, although certain matters may be discussed in executive session.
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.
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 Code of Ethics, no verbal or anonymous requests or complaints will be considered by the Board of Ethics and no action will be taken to follow up on such matters.
All requests for advisory opinions and other inquiries by County employees or appointees shall be fully explained in writing and signed.
All written and signed complaints of potential violations of the County’s Code of Ethics, 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 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.
The Code of Ethics 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” 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.
Items or services excluded by the local law including under Section 6 F. (2), include the following:
Awards and plaques;
Goods, services or discounts offered to the general public
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.
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.
All employees and officers can and should seek an advisory opinion from the Ethics Board. 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 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.
Waiver Form is available on the Orange County Board of Ethics website.
A. County officers, employees and contractors.
Annual disclosure statements shall be filed by all elected county officials; department heads, their deputies and those county employees, as determined by the County Executive upon recommendation of the department head, who have the authority for policy-making and/or appropriating decisions, employees of contractors who 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.
If the individual has been in the position for a minimum of one day during the previous calendar year, even if they no longer hold that position, they shall still be required to file an Annual disclosure statement.
B. County political party officials, if such person received compensation or reimbursement of expenses from a constituted committee or political committee funds during the reporting period aggregating a combined total of $30,000 or more.
C. Any person who shall become a candidate for the office of any elected official of Orange County.
The Financial Disclosure Statement is available on the Orange County Board of Ethics website. Forms are generally sent to those individuals required to file at the end of February each year.
Annual disclosure statements 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. All county officers and employees will be offered training on the Ethics and Disclosure Law.
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, the signature of the filer and notary and any other relevant information determined by the Ethics Board necessary or appropriate.