January 14, 2020
This responds to your inquiry (19-126) asking whether as one of two directors of a not-for-profit entity you may speak at a public hearing before a regional EMS council concerning the entity’s application for a license to own and operate an emergency vehicle. You have stated that you wish to share your first-hand observations and experiences and explain the community’s specialized need for the license.
We have previously advised that a full-time judge may not appear at a pubic hearing before an executive or legislative body or official except on matters concerning the law, the legal system or the administration of justice or except when acting pro se in a matter involving the judge or his/her interests (22 NYCRR §100.4 [C]). We have advised that a full-time judge may not appear at a Town Board meeting in the judge’s capacity as a board member of a hospital in support of a proposed expansion project of the hospital (see Opinion 05-08). As your request to appear is similar to the judge’s request to appear as a hospital board member in support of a hospital, we conclude you should not speak or appear before the council.
Enclosed, for your convenience, is Opinion 05-08 for your review, which addresses this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc Justice
Appellate Div., First Dept. (Ret)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Supreme Court Justice