[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Greenwich 12-10-1996 by L.L. No. 3-1996. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be entitled "Defense and Indemnification of Town Employees."
The New York State Legislature has enacted legislation permitting public entities, including towns, to provide for the defense and indemnification of officers and employees. The Town of Greenwich Board, by this chapter, hereby agrees to confer the benefits of § 18 of the Public Officers Law upon its employees and to be held liable for the costs incurred under these provisions.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any commissioner, member of a public board or commission, trustee, director, officer, employee volunteer expressly authorized to participate in a publicly sponsored volunteer program, or any other person holding a position by election, appointment or employment in the service of the Town of Greenwich, whether or not compensated, but shall not include an independent contractor. The term "employee" shall include a former employee, his estate or judicially appointed personal representative.
Upon compliance by the employee with the provisions of § 15-6 of this chapter, the Town of Greenwich shall provide for the defense of the employee in any civil action or proceeding, state or federal, arising out of any alleged act or omission which occurred or allegedly occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his public employment or duties. This duty to provide for a defense shall not arise where such civil action or proceeding is brought by, or at the behest of, the Town of Greenwich.
Subject to the conditions set forth in Subsection A of this section, the employee shall be entitled to be represented by private counsel of his choice in any civil action or proceeding whenever the Town Attorney or other attorney designated by the Town determines that a conflict of interest exists or whenever a court, upon appropriate motion or otherwise by special proceeding, determines that a conflict of interest exists and that the employee is entitled to be represented by counsel of his choice; provided, however, that the Town Attorney or other attorney designated by the Town may require, as a condition to payment of the fees and expenses of such representation, that appropriate groups of such employees be represented by the same counsel. Reasonable attorney's fees and litigation expenses shall be paid by The Town of Greenwich to such private counsel from time to time during the pendency of the civil action or proceeding with the approval of the Town of Greenwich Board.
Any dispute with respect to representation of multiple employees by a single counsel or the amount of litigation expenses or the reasonableness of attorney's fees shall be resolved by the court upon motion or by way of a special proceeding.
Where the employee delivers process and a written request for a defense to the Town of Greenwich under § 15-6 of this chapter, the Town of Greenwich shall take the necessary steps on behalf of the employee to avoid entry of a default judgment pending resolution of any question pertaining to the obligation to provide for a defense.
The Town of Greenwich shall indemnify and save harmless its employees in the amount of any judgment obtained against such employees in a state or federal court, or in the amount of any settlement of a claim, provided that the act or omission from which such judgment or claim arose occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his public employment or duties; provided, further, that in the case of settlement, the duty to indemnify and save harmless shall be conditional upon the approval of the amount of settlement by the Town of Greenwich.
Except as otherwise provided by law, the duty to indemnify and save harmless prescribed by this section shall not arise where the injury or damage resulted from intentional wrongdoing or recklessness on the part of the employee.
Nothing in this section shall authorize the Town of Greenwich to indemnify or save harmless an employee with respect to punitive or exemplary damages, fines or penalties, or money recovered from an employee pursuant to § 51 of the General Municipal Law.
Upon entry of a final judgment against the employee, or upon the settlement of the claim, the employee shall serve a copy of such judgment or settlement, personally or by certified or registered mail, within 30 days of the date of entry or settlement, upon the Supervisor of the Town of Greenwich, and if not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter, the amount of such judgment or settlement shall be paid by the Town of Greenwich.
The duty to defend or indemnify and save harmless prescribed by this chapter shall be conditioned upon:
Delivery by the employee to the Town Attorney or the Attorney for the Town, or to the Supervisor of the Town of Greenwich, of a written request to provide for his or her defense, together with the original or a copy of any summons, complaint, process, notice, demand or pleading within 10 days after he or she is served with such document; and
The full cooperation of the employee in the defense of such action or proceeding and in defense of any action or proceeding against the Town of Greenwich based upon the same act or omission, and in the prosecution of any appeal.
The benefits of this chapter shall inure only to employees as defined herein and shall not enlarge or diminish the rights of any other party nor shall any provision of this chapter be construed to affect, alter or repeal any provision of the Workers' Compensation Law.
This chapter shall not in any way affect the obligation of any claimant to give notice to the Town of Greenwich under § 10 of the Court of Claims Act, § 51-e of the General Municipal Law, or any other provision of law.
The Town of Greenwich is hereby authorized and empowered to purchase insurance from any insurance company created by or under the laws of the State of New York, or authorized by law to transact business in this state, against any liability imposed by the provisions of this chapter, or to act, as a self-insurer with respect thereto.
All payments made under the terms of this chapter, whether for insurance or otherwise, shall be deemed to be for a public purpose and shall be audited and paid in the same manner as other public charges.
The provision of this chapter shall not be construed to impair, alter, limit or modify the rights and obligations of any insurer under any policy of insurance.
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the provisions of this chapter shall not be construed in any way to impair, alter, limit, modify, abrogate or restrict any immunity to liability available to, or conferred upon, any unit, entity, officer or employee of the Town of Greenwich by, in accordance with, or by reason of, any other provision of state or federal statutory or common law.
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, benefits accorded to employees under this chapter shall supplement, and be available in addition to, defense or indemnification protection conferred by any other enactment of the Town of Greenwich.