Bill Text: NY A06317 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Allows a county clerk to employ an attorney-at-law to defend against certain civil actions; and relates to the removal of public officers by the governor.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 37-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-05 - referred to local governments [A06317 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A06317-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                      March 5, 2019
        Introduced  by  M. of A. WALSH, SMULLEN -- read once and referred to the
          Committee on Local Governments
        AN ACT to amend the county law, in relation to allowing a  county  clerk
          to  employ an attorney-at-law to defend against certain civil actions;
          and to amend the public officers law, in relation to  the  removal  of
          public officers by the governor
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Section 409 of the county law is amended by  adding  a  new
     2  subdivision 3 to read as follows:
     3     3.  (a)  Notwithstanding  subdivisions one and two of this section or
     4  any other inconsistent provision of law, a county clerk  may  employ  an
     5  attorney-at-law to defend any civil action or proceeding brought against
     6  him  or  her  in his or her official capacity as an agent of the commis-
     7  sioner of motor vehicles as designated under section two hundred five of
     8  the vehicle and traffic law.
     9    (b) All damages recovered against,  or  costs  and  expenses  lawfully
    10  incurred by a county clerk, including attorney's fees, in the defense of
    11  a  civil  action  or proceeding brought against such clerk in his or her
    12  capacity as an agent of the commissioner of motor vehicles for an  offi-
    13  cial  act  done,  or  for failure to perform an official act, shall be a
    14  state charge and shall be audited and paid in the same manner  as  state
    15  charges.  When  the act upon which the action or proceeding is based was
    16  done in good faith, but without the authority of law or authorization by
    17  the commissioner of motor vehicles, the state comptroller may audit  and
    18  pay  the  same  as  state charges, even if such action or proceeding was
    19  initiated against the clerk by the commissioner of motor vehicles.
    20    § 2. Subdivision 1 of section  34  of  the  public  officers  law,  as
    21  amended  by  chapter  15  of  the  laws  of  1928, is amended to read as
    22  follows:
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 6317                             2
     1    1. In any proceeding for the removal by the governor of a public offi-
     2  cer, he or she may conduct an investigation into the  charges,  and  may
     3  take  the  evidence as to the truth of the charges at a hearing for such
     4  purpose, or he or she may direct that such investigation or hearing,  or
     5  both,  shall be conducted by a justice of the supreme court of the judi-
     6  cial district, or the county judge of the county, in which  the  officer
     7  proceeded  against  shall  reside, or by a commissioner appointed by the
     8  governor, by an appointment, in writing, filed  in  the  office  of  the
     9  secretary of state. Except, no such proceeding or investigation shall be
    10  undertaken  or directed to be undertaken against a public officer on the
    11  basis of an action, or failure to act, of such public officer,  if  done
    12  in  good  faith  and with a reasonable belief that the public officer is
    13  defending, protecting and upholding the  constitution  or  laws  of  the
    14  United  States  or  of this state, even if it is subsequently determined
    15  that such action or inaction was without authority  of  law  or  without
    16  express authorization.
    17    § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.