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New York State Ethics Commission
Alfred E. Smith State Office Bldg.
80 South Swan Street, 11th Floor, Suite 1147
Albany, NY 12210


Advisory Opinion No. 04-4:

Application of Advisory Opinion No. § 03-06 to individuals serving in academic titles at the City University of New York.


INTRODUCTION

In Advisory Opinion No. 90-15, dated June 21, 1990, the New York State Ethics Commission ("Commission") determined that academic employees of the City University of New York ("CUNY") could meet the financial disclosure filing requirements of Public Officers Law §73-a by filing a short form with their respective appointing authorities. In Advisory Opinion No. 03-06, the Commission permanently adopted the short form process for CUNY academic employees. The ruling resulted in the inclusion of one question on CUNY’s pre-existing Multiple Position Report Form. The Commission delegated to the individual CUNY campuses the responsibility for collecting and auditing the information received, to identify conflicts or potential conflicts of interest.

In Advisory Opinion  03-06 , the Commission revisited these earlier opinions, including the rationale which lead to the short form filing process and determined that it would end the financial disclosure process applied to academic employees of the State University of New York (“SUNY”) created by Advisory Opinion No. 90-15 and rendered as permanent in Advisory Opinion No. 93-06. The Commission delayed application of the opinion to academic employees of the CUNY system, pending discussions with the CUNY administration and the Professional Staff Congress, the labor representative to CUNY academic employees.

CONCLUSION

As CUNY academics are similarly situated to their SUNY counterparts and because there appears to be no convincing rationale, as discussed in Advisory Opinion No. 03-06, for retaining the short form filing process, the Commission concludes that the financial disclosure process created and embodied in Advisory Opinion Nos. 90-15 and 93-06 is hereby discontinued for academic employees of CUNY.

Beginning with the 2003 filing year1, academic employees of the CUNY system, who earn in excess of the filing rate, will be required to complete the statutorily mandated financial disclosure statement set forth in Public Officers Law §73-a, by November 15, 2004.2 Electronic filing of the financial disclosure statements, currently available to all State employees, will be made available to all academic employees of CUNY. In addition, any CUNY academic employee who is not engaged in obtaining grants or any other activity as specified in Executive Law §94(9)(k), may seek an exemption from filing the statutory disclosure statement.3 The Commission will no longer require a supplemental financial disclosure filing for grant applicants. Nothing contained in this opinion will affect those CUNY employees who have been designated as policymakers and non-academic employees who earn in excess of the filing threshold who annually file with the Commission by May 15th.

This opinion, unless and until amended or revoked, is binding on the Commission in any subsequent proceeding concerning the person who requested it and who acted in good faith, unless material facts were omitted or misstated by the person in the request for opinion or related supporting documentation.

All Concur:
Paul Shechtman, Chair
Robert J. Giuffra, Jr.
Carl H. Loewenson, Jr.
Lynn Millane,
Susan Shepard, Members 

Dated: July 13, 2003


End notes

1. Public Officers Law §73-a(1)(c)(ii) requires employees of State agencies who are designated as policy-makers by their appointing authority or who earn an annual salary in excess of the job rate of State Grade 24 [see, Public Officers Law §73-a(1)(l)] to file the annual statement of financial disclosure. The term “State agency” includes CUNY [see, Public Officers Law §73(1)(g)].

2. The Commission is extending the statutory deadline for submission of the statements by CUNY academics to November 15th for reasons attendant to the academic calender year [see, Public Officers Law §73-a(2)(a)].

3. Policymaking employees may not seek such an exemption [see, Executive Law §94(9)(k)].

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