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Volume 3 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 61

Opinions of Counsel index

Conflict of interest (village mayor - town assessor); Compatibility of office (village mayor - town assessor) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1522; Village Law, §§ 3.300(4), 4-404(4):

Absent a contrary provision in the village or town code of ethics, the offices of village mayor and town assessor of the town in which the village is located are not incompatible, provided the village does not adopt the town assessment roll for its own purposes.

Our opinion has been requested as to whether a village mayor may also hold the position of town assessor (Real Property Tax Law, § 1522) in the town in which the village is located. It was indicated that the village board of trustees may act as village assessors.

The following sections of the Village Law pertain to the problem presented:

Section 4-404(4):

Except as is otherwise expressly provided by law, no person shall be disqualified from holding a village office by reason of holding any public office unless there results a conflict of interest.

Section 3-300(4):

Except as is otherwise provided by law, no person shall be disqualified from holding a village office by reason of holding any public office unless such public officer could not fully discharge the duties and obligations of the village office while carrying out the duties and obligations of any such other office.

In addition, section 806 of the General Municipal Law mandates the adoption of a code of ethics by each county, city, town, village or school district. Therefore, it is suggested that an examination of the village and town code of ethics be made.

A deciding factor in determining whether a conflict of interest is present is whether the village adopts the town assessment roll for purposes of levying real property taxes. The Attorney General’s office has determined that if the same roll were used, “there would be no doubt as to the incompatibility of the offices.” (1950, Op.Atty. Gen. 200)

However, absent this situation and assuming there is no prohibition in either the village or town code of ethics, it would appear pursuant to the above cited provisions of the Village Law, that no conflict of interest would exist in the situation presented and that the offices are compatible.

This opinion is consistent with an opinion of the Attorney General involving the same situation (1973, Op.Atty.Gen. 98).

December 21, 1973

Updated: