October 9, 2020
This responds to your inquiry (20-149) asking whether, as a full-time Court-Attorney Referee,1 you may answer the Governor’s call to be a poll worker, given this year’s shortage of workers as result of the global pandemic. This is a temporary, paid position, which you view as non-partisan, as it is designed to ensure the integrity of the election for all voters.
However, even if this position is, in fact, non-partisan, a full-time quasi-judicial employee is nevertheless prohibited from being “appoint[ed] to a governmental committee or other governmental position … concerned with issues of fact or policy in matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice” (22 NYCRR 100.4[C][a]). Moreover, the Rules also prohibit such an employee from being compensated by New York State, its political subdivision, or an office or agency thereof (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[H][c]).
Enclosed, for your convenience, is Opinion 20-129 which addresses this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice (Ret.)
Appellate Div. First Dep’t
Margaret T. Walsh Supreme Court Justice
1 A Court Attorney-Referee is a quasi-judicial position, subject to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct (see 22 NYCRR 100.6[A]; Opinion 18-83).