[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Huntington Bay 5-12-1980 by L.L. No. 2-1980. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 8-11-1986 by L.L. No. 1-1986]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide legal and financial protection for those individuals serving the Village of Huntington Bay from losses which may be brought against them in their individual capacity for actions taken while in the performance of their official duties and responsibilities. By enactment of this chapter, the Board of Trustees does not intend to limit or otherwise abrogate any existing right or responsibility of the village or its employees with regard to indemnification or legal defense. It is solely the intent of this chapter to provide similar coverage for local employees as is provided for state employees so as to continue to attract qualified individuals to local government service. To this end, the Board of Trustees hereby agrees that the benefits of § 18 of the Public Officers Law of New York State shall be conferred upon its officers and employees and that the village shall be liable for all costs thereby incurred. The benefits conferred in § 18 of the Public Officers Law shall supplement and shall be available in addition to the defense or indemnification protection conferred within this chapter.
As used in the chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any person holding a position by election, appointment or employment in the service of the Village of Huntington Bay, whether or not compensated, or a volunteer expressly authorized to participate in a municipally sponsored volunteer program, 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 § 18-5 of this chapter, the village shall provide for the defense of the employee in any civil action or proceeding in any state or federal court arising out of any alleged act or omission which occurred or is alleged in the complaint to have occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his public employment or duties or which is brought to enforce a provision of Section 1981 or 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code. This duty to provide for a defense shall not arise where such civil action or proceeding is brought by or on behalf of the Village of Huntington Bay.
Subject to the conditions set forth in Subsection A of this section, the employee shall be entitled to be represented by the Village Attorney; provided, however, that the employee shall be entitled to representation by private counsel of his choice in any civil judicial proceeding whenever the Village Attorney determines, based upon his investigation and review of the facts and circumstances of the case, that representation by the Village Attorney would be inappropriate or whenever a court of competent jurisdiction, upon appropriate motion or by a special proceeding, determines that a conflict of interest exists and that the employee is entitled to be represented by private counsel of his choice. The Village Attorney shall notify the employee in writing of such determination that the employee is entitled to be represented by private counsel of his choice. The Village Attorney 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. If the employee or group of employees is entitled to representation by private counsel under the provisions of this section, the Village Attorney shall so certify to the Village Board. Reasonable attorney's fees and litigation expenses shall be paid by the village to such private counsel from time to time during the pendency of the civil action or proceeding, subject to certification that the employee is entitled to representation under the terms and conditions of this chapter by the head of the department, commission, division, office or agency in which such employee is employed and upon the audit and warrant of the Village Treasurer. Any dispute with respect to representation of multiple employees by a single counsel or the amount of litigation expenses or the reasonableness of attorneys' fees shall be resolved by the court upon motion or by way of a special proceeding.
Where the employee delivers process and a request for a defense to the Village Attorney as required by § 18-5 of this chapter, the Attorney shall take the necessary steps, including the retention of private counsel under the terms and conditions provided in Subsection B of this section 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 village shall indemnify and save harmless its employees in the amount of any judgment obtained against such employees in any 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 settlement arose occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his public employment or duties. 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.
An employee represented by private counsel shall cause to be submitted to the Board of Trustees any proposed settlement which may be subject to indemnification by the village, and, if not inconsistent with the provisions of this section, the Mayor shall certify such settlement and submit such settlement and certification to the Village Attorney. The Attorney shall review such proposed settlement as to form and amount and shall give his approval if, in his judgment, the settlement is in the best interest of the village. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the village to indemnify or save harmless an employee with respect to a settlement not so reviewed and approved by the Village Attorney.
Upon entry of a final judgment against the employee or upon the settlement of the claim, the employee shall cause to be served 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 Mayor, and, if not inconsistent with the provisions of this section, such judgment or settlement shall be certified for payment by such Mayor. If the Attorney concurs in such certification, the judgment or settlement shall be paid upon the audit and warrant of the Village Treasurer.
The duty to defend or indemnify and save harmless provided by this chapter shall be conditioned upon delivery to the Village Attorney or his assistant, at his office, by the employee, of the original or a copy of any summons, complaint, process, notice, demand or pleading within five days after he is served with such document and upon the full cooperation of the employee in the defense of such action or proceeding and in defense of any action or proceeding against the state based upon the same act or omission and in the prosecution of any appeal. Such delivery shall be deemed a request by the employee that the village provide for his defense pursuant to this chapter.
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.
The provisions 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.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all actions and proceedings pending upon the effective date thereof or thereafter instituted.
Except as otherwise specifically 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 available to or conferred upon any unit, entity, officer or employee of the village or any right to defense and/or indemnification provided for any governmental officer or employee by, in accordance with or by reason of any other provision of state or federal statutory or common law.
If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held unconstitutional or invalid in whole or in part by any court of competent jurisdiction, such holding of unconstitutionality or invalidity shall in no way affect or impair any other provision of this chapter or the application of any such provision to any other person or circumstance.