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Volume 1 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 113

Opinions of Counsel index

Board of Assessment Review (membership) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1524:

An elected commissioner of education of a city may also serve as a member of the board of assessment review, subject to the statutory limitation as to service by officers or employees of the local government.

We have received an inquiry as to whether the elected commissioner of education in a city may be appointed to the board of assessment review of such city.

There does not appear to be any statutory prohibition against an elected city official holding an appointed office, except for the prohibition in section 3 of the General City Law barring members of the common council from holding other offices “ . . . the emoluments of which are paid from the city treasury, or . . . by any act or ordinance of the common council . . . .”

Accordingly, the only question remaining is whether there is any incompatibility between the office of commissioner of education and the office of a member of the board of assessment review.

Public offices are incompatible when their functions are inconsistent and their performance by the same person results in an antagonism and conflict of duty, so that the incumbent of one cannot faithfully discharge with propriety the duties of both (People ex rel. Ryan v. Green, 58 N.Y. 295).

We are of the opinion that there is no inherent incompatibility between the offices of commissioner of education and member of the board of assessment review, and both offices may be held by the same person. However, the commissioner of education must be considered an officer or employee of the local government for purposes of the composition of the board of assessment review required by subdivision 1 of section 1524 of the Real Property Tax Law.

April 28, 1972