Opinions of the Attorney General, Formal Opinion 2012- F2
Public Officers Law §17 provides for the defense and indemnification of State officers and employees sued in a civil action or proceeding in any state or federal court for acts or omissions involving the performance of their official duties.
The Attorney General has advised Gina L. Bianchi, Esq., Deputy Commissioner and Counsel, New York State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, that members of the Security Guard Advisory Council are State officers or employees for the purposes of Public Officers Law §17.
Presumably the same would be true with respect to the provisions of Public Officers Law §19's applicability to such Council members.
Public Officers Law §19 provides, in pertinent part, that it is “the duty of the state to pay reasonable attorneys' fees and litigation expenses incurred by or on behalf of an employee in his or her defense of a criminal proceeding in a state or federal court arising out of any act which occurred while such employee was acting within the scope of his* public employment or duties upon his acquittal or upon the dismissal of the criminal charges against him.”
With respect to political subdivisions of the State, Public Officers Law §18 authorizes such entities, “by the adoption of local law, by-law, resolution, rule or regulation,” to provide for the defense and indemnification of its officers and employees in the event any such persons are sued in federal or state courts in a civil matter related to the performance of their official duties.
* §22 of the General Construction Law, in pertinent part, provides that “Whenever words of the masculine or feminine gender appear in any law, rule or regulation, unless the sense of the sentence indicates otherwise, they shall be deemed to refer to both male or female persons.”
The Attorney General's Opinion 2012-F2 is posted on the Internet as a PDF file at:
Reprinted by permission New York Public Personnel Law
Mitchell H. Rubinstein