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HandBook of Regulations

Effective Date: April 24, 2013

CHAPTER I - Integrity and Discipline


Section 1: INTEGRITY

Section 2: DISCIPLINE


Section 1: INTEGRITY

Section 1-1: Generally

City marshals are public servants who must maintain uncompromised standards of integrity in the management of their offices and the conduct of their official business.  They must obey the law in all their activities, both official and personal.  In dealing with the courts, public agencies, attorneys, parties to legal actions and proceedings, and the public, marshals must conduct their business honestly.

Marshals are further reminded that they are responsible for all ministerial duties performed for them by their office managers, bookkeepers, process servers, etc., which pertain to the performance of the marshal's office.  Marshals, therefore, are urged to review periodically all of their official books and records, and other work performed by their employees.  

Section 1-2: Respect for the Public

A city marshal shall at all times treat the public with respect and dignity, befitting the marshal's position as an officer of the Civil Court. Marshals and their staffs, agents, and independent contractors must be courteous and helpful to the public, and must avoid physical and verbal confrontations and the use of abusive language while conducting official business.

Section 1-3: Receipt of Benefits Prohibited

A marshal shall accept only the fees and reimbursements that he or she  is authorized by law to receive in connection with official acts.  A marshal and the marshal’s employee, contractor, or agent shall not accept, solicit, or agree to accept any other benefit or anything of value from or on behalf of any person in connection with the marshal's official action.  A marshal shall not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any additional compensation or benefit or anything of value from or on behalf of another person upon an agreement or understanding that the marshal’s vote, opinion, judgment, action, decision, or exercise of discretion as a marshal will thereby be influenced.  A marshal shall not solicit, accept, or agree to accept a benefit or anything of value from or on behalf of another person in consideration for having engaged in official conduct which the marshal was required or authorized to perform, nor shall the marshal solicit, accept, or agree to accept a benefit or anything of value for having failed to take some official action or for having violated an official duty.

A marshal's official action for the purposes of this section includes, but is not limited to, the selection, hiring and continued use of an employee, contractor, or agent to perform any service in furtherance of or in connection with the marshal's performance of official duties, including, but not limited to serving legal process, levying on property or income, and executing warrants of eviction and orders of seizure.

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Section 1-4: Public Servant Defined; Benefit Defined

“Public servant” for purposes of this Handbook means (a) any public officer or employee of the State of New York or any political subdivision thereof or any governmental instrumentality within the state, or (b) any person exercising the functions of any such public officer or employee.  The term “public servant” includes, but is not limited to a city marshal, any officer or employee of the City, any member of the committee on city marshals established pursuant to New York City Civil Court Act § 1601(2), and any person who has been elected or designated to become a public servant.

       “Benefit” for purposes of this Handbook means any gain or advantage to the beneficiary and includes any gain or advantage to a third person pursuant to the desire or consent of the beneficiary.

Section 1-5: Conferring Property or Benefit in Consideration for Work Prohibited

A marshal shall not give, offer, or agree to give anything of value to, or to confer any benefit upon, any person or entity, as part of an agreement or understanding that the marshal will be retained, hired or otherwise directed to act as, or perform the duties of a marshal.

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Nothing in this section prohibits a marshal who is a participant, or who is applying to be a participant, in the City of New York Marshal Vehicle Seizure program from paying the City a monthly fee or from paying any other charge to the City as directed in writing by the Commissioner of Finance or his or her designee.

Section 1-6: Bribery, Gratuities, Rewarding Official Misconduct Prohibited

A marshal shall not give, offer, or agree to give anything of value or confer any benefit upon a public servant, including, but not limited to, city employees and court personnel, in connection with the public servant's performance, non-performance, or violation of his or her official duties.

Section 1-7: Gifts to City Officials, Officers and Employees Prohibited

Marshals are reminded that Chapter 68, § 2604(b)(5) of the City Charter prohibits City officials, officers, and employees from accepting valuable gifts from persons who  have, or intend to become engaged in, business dealings with the City.  That section reads:

“No public servant shall accept any valuable gift, as defined by rule of the board, from any person or firm which such public servant knows is or intends to become engaged in business dealings with the city, except that nothing contained herein shall prohibit a public servant from accepting a gift which is customary on family and social occasions.”

Because marshals frequently engage in transactions with the City that involve the provision or exchange of services and property, and in recognition of the supervision of marshals by the Department of Investigation, it would be inappropriate for a City official, officer or employee to accept a valuable gift from a marshal.  Accordingly, a marshal shall not give or offer a valuable gift to any official, officer, or employee of the City.

“Valuable gift,” as defined by the Conflicts of Interest Board means, in part, “any gift to a public servant which has a value of $50.00 or more, whether in the form of money, service, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or in any other form.”  The complete rule is attached as an appendix to this Handbook.

Section 1-8: Report Corruption to Department of Investigation

Every marshal shall have the affirmative obligation to report directly and promptly to the Department of Investigation any and all information concerning conduct which the marshal knows or should reasonably know to involve corrupt or other criminal activity or conflict of interest (a) by a City officer or employee, a marshal or marshal’s employee, or other public servant which concerns the marshal’s or any other public servant’s office or employment, or (b) by persons dealing with the City or a marshal, which concerns such dealings.  The knowing failure to report as required above shall constitute cause for removal from office.

Section 1-9: Interference with Investigation Prohibited; Cooperation Required

  1. No person shall prevent, seek to prevent, interfere with, obstruct, or otherwise hinder any study or investigation conducted pursuant to the New York City Charter, Joint Administrative Order 453, or this Handbook.  A marshal's violation of this subsection shall constitute cause for removal from office or other appropriate penalty.  A violation of this subsection by an employee, contractor, or agent of a city marshal shall constitute cause for termination of employment or contract, as provided by § 1-15 of this chapter, or other appropriate penalty.

  2. Full cooperation with the Department of Investigation shall be afforded by every city marshal and all employees, contractors, and agents of a city marshal.  A marshal's violation of this subsection shall constitute cause for removal from office or other appropriate penalty.  A violation of this subsection by an employee, contractor, or agent of a city marshal shall constitute cause for termination of employment or contract, as provided by § 1-15 of this chapter, or other appropriate penalty.

  3. In an investigation conducted by the Department of Investigation pursuant to Joint Administrative Order 453, this Handbook, or Chapter 34 of the New York City Charter, the refusal of a marshal to answer questions concerning any matter related to the marshal’s official business after the marshal has been advised that neither his or her statements nor any information or evidence derived therefrom will be used against the marshal in a subsequent criminal prosecution other than for perjury or contempt arising from such testimony, shall constitute cause for removal from office or other appropriate penalty.

  4. In an investigation conducted by the Department of Investigation pursuant to Joint Administrative Order 453, this Handbook, or Chapter 34 of the New York City Charter, the refusal of a marshal's employee to answer questions concerning any matter related to the official business of the marshal, or the refusal of a person dealing with a marshal in any matter related to the marshal's official duties to answer questions concerning such dealings with the marshal, after such employee, or person dealing with a marshal has been advised that neither his or her statements nor any information or evidence derived therefrom will be used against him or her in a subsequent criminal prosecution other than for perjury or contempt arising from such testimony, shall constitute cause for termination of such person's employment, contract, or business association with the marshal, as provided by § 1-15 of this chapter, or other appropriate penalty. 

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Section 1-10: Duty to Maintain Accurate Records

A marshal and his or her employees, contractors and agents, shall make only accurate and truthful entries in all records and documents, including computer records, which relate to the marshal's official activities.  Any person who knowingly makes a false entry in any such record or document, or who omits to make a true entry in any such record or document in violation of a duty to do so, or who knowingly removes, mutilates, destroys, conceals, or falsely alters any such record or document is subject to criminal prosecution.  A marshal shall be strictly responsible for the accuracy and integrity of all records and documents maintained by the marshal’s office, and is subject to disciplinary action, including removal from office, if he or she fails to complete and maintain all such records and documents accurately and truthfully. 

Where a marshal retains an independent contractor or agent to assist in the performance of official duties, the marshal shall be responsible for the accuracy and integrity of all records and documents, including computer records, that relate to the marshal's official activities, regardless of whether any such record or document is completed or maintained personally by the marshal, the marshal’s employee, or by an independent contractor or agent.  Marshals are therefore advised when they assign recordkeeping duties to an independent contractor or agent to ensure that the person who will perform such duties is qualified, to supervise the contractor or agent carefully, and to review such records and documents to ensure that they are completed and maintained accurately.

The Department of Investigation will consider the following and other pertinent factors in determining whether disciplinary action against a marshal is appropriate for an inaccuracy in a record or document completed or maintained by a marshal's employee, independent contractor or agent:

  • the nature of the inaccuracy, e.g., whether intentional, negligent, inadvertent, etc.;

  • the marshal's knowledge, if any, of the inaccuracy;

  • evidence of repeated errors or inaccuracies in that record or document or other records or documents completed or maintained by the same employee, independent contractor or agent, and whether the marshal knew or should have known thereof;

  • the frequency and diligence of the marshal's review of the records or documents;

  • whether the marshal took prompt and appropriate corrective action when the marshal learned of errors or inaccuracies;

  • whether the marshal promptly reported falsification of records or significant errors or inaccuracies in records to the Department of Investigation;

  • evidence of a marshal's knowledge of facts suggesting that the person maintaining or completing a record or document lacked the ability or trustworthiness to perform this function properly;

  • evidence of the marshal's willful avoidance of knowledge of one or more instances of falsification, errors or inaccuracies in such records and documents or that the person maintaining or completing a record or document lacked the ability or trustworthiness to perform this function properly;

  • whether the marshal assigned the recordkeeping function to a qualified person for a bona fide reason related to the efficient operation of the marshal's office; and

  • the importance of the record or document.

Section 1-11: Truthful Statements

A marshal and the marshal’s employees, contractors, and agents shall provide only truthful and accurate information to the Department of Investigation in all oral and written communications.  Knowingly providing false, deceptive or misleading information to the Department of Investigation is grounds for disciplinary action, including removal from office, and may result in criminal prosecution.

Section 1-12: Persons Pretending to be Marshals

According to  § 1603 of the New York City Civil Court Act, “It shall be unlawful for any person, other than a marshal...to hold himself out to the public as being a marshal or as being...authorized to act as a marshal or to perform the duties of a marshal...” Furthermore, § 1603 also states that “it shall be unlawful for any city marshal to permit any person, other than a city marshal, to perform any act in his name, or to sign or to use his name in the performance of any act which must be performed personally by a city marshal.”  Violators of this section are guilty of a misdemeanor.

Accordingly, marshals are advised that neither their employees nor any person other than marshals may perform functions which can only be performed by marshals.  Furthermore, a marshal may not allow employees of collection agencies to be based in the marshal’s office.   A marshal shall not permit any person other than a marshal to use the marshal's name, badge, badge number, letterhead, office address, or any symbol or insignia of the marshal's official status or authority in any written or oral communication made to another person.  This prohibition does not apply to bona fide office employees of a marshal acting under the marshal’s direction and supervision in the regular performance of their duties and responsibilities.  Any questions with respect to this section should be directed to the Bureau of City Marshals.

Section 1-13: Report Persons Pretending to be Marshals

A marshal must report to the Department of Investigation directly and promptly any and all information concerning conduct that the marshal knows or should reasonably know to involve a person other than a marshal holding himself out to the public as being a marshal or as being in any way authorized to act as a marshal or to perform the duties of a marshal. A marshal must also report to the Department of Investigation directly and promptly any unauthorized use of a marshal's name, letterhead, office address, or any symbol or insignia of the marshal's official status or authority.

Section 1-14: Restriction on Employment of Former Marshal

A city marshal may not employ any former marshal who (a) has been convicted of a crime that is related to the performance of his official duties when such employment bears a direct relationship to the criminal offense for which the former marshal was convicted; or (b) because of official misconduct has been removed from office pursuant to administrative proceedings or has resigned during such proceedings.

Section 1-15: Termination by Direction of Commissioner

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The Commissioner of Investigation ("Commissioner") may, after an investigation, direct a city marshal to terminate the employment of an employee or independent contractor, and may bar a marshal from a business association with any contractor, business entity, its principals, or former employee of a marshal.

The Commissioner's direction to a marshal to terminate the employment of an employee or independent contractor and to bar a marshal from a business association with any contractor, business entity, its principals, or former employee of a marshal shall be in writing and shall state the basis for the direction. The basis may include, but shall not be limited to, a finding that a person or business entity:

  1. has prevented, sought to prevent, interfered with, obstructed, or otherwise hindered or has refused or failed to cooperate with any study or investigation conducted by the Department of Investigation pursuant to Joint Administrative Order 453, this Handbook, or Chapter 34 of the New York City Charter; or

  2. has engaged in conduct in violation of law, the rules of the Appellate Divisions for the First and Second Judicial Departments, the rules of the Supreme Court, the Family Court, or the Civil Court of the City of New York, this Handbook or other directives of the Department of Investigation; or

  3. has by action or inaction behaved in a manner constituting incompetency or misconduct or that demonstrates that the person or business entity lacks the integrity necessary to conduct business with or on behalf of a city marshal.

Before issuing a written direction to the marshal pursuant to this section, the Commissioner shall give written notice of the proposed direction and the basis for it to the marshal and to the person or entity who is the subject of the proposed direction.  Such persons shall also be given an opportunity to respond either orally or in writing, at the Commissioner's sole discretion, as to why such direction should not be issued.  When responding to the Commissioner's notice, the marshal and the person or entity that is the subject of the Commissioner's proposed direction may be assisted by counsel.  Nothing contained in this section shall require the Commissioner to hold a hearing before issuing a written direction.

The marshal shall, immediately upon receipt of the Commissioner's written direction, comply with that direction.  The marshal's failure to do so shall be grounds for disciplinary action, including removal.

All contracts relating to the marshal's official duties entered into or renewed by a marshal on or after the effective date of this Handbook must provide for termination of the contract by the marshal at the direction of the Commissioner, unless such provision is waived by the Commissioner. 

Section 1-16: Arrest of Marshal or Employee(s)

A city marshal must notify the Department of Investigation within two hours on a business day, or by 11:00 a.m. the next business day, if the occurrence is on a weekend or holiday, after the marshal’s arrest or after the marshal learns of the arrest of any of his or her employees whether or not the conduct underlying the arrest was during the course of official duties.   In enforcing this section the Department of Investigation shall consider whether a marshal's failure to notify the Department of Investigation within the applicable time limits was due to a circumstance beyond the marshal’s control.  If the criminal charges bear upon the marshal’s fitness for office, the pendency of such charges may be cause for disciplinary action, including but not limited to an application to the Appellate Divisions for the marshal’s suspension pending a hearing or pending resolution of the criminal charges.

Section 1-17: Outside Employment Restricted

The Corporation Counsel, in Opinion 44‑80, interpreted the New York City Civil Court Act and applicable court cases relating to “outside employment” of city marshals. New York City Civil Court Act § 1601-a(2)(a) provides that no city marshal shall actively engage or participate in any other occupation or employment, nor shall any marshal engage or participate in any trade or business which creates or might tend to create an actual or potential conflict of interest.  The statute further provides that no marshal or member of his or her immediate family shall maintain any financial interest, direct or indirect, in a process serving agency, towing company, or furniture moving and storage company.  A violation of the statute is grounds for disciplinary action, including removal.  

Every marshal is urged to read Opinion 44-80.  The opinion states that under the statute marshals are required to devote their full time to the performance of their duties as marshals.  The opinion further states that the statute strictly prohibits marshals from engaging in any activity or having any financial interest in a trade or business, including the businesses mentioned above, that creates or might tend to create a conflict of interest.

A marshal who is employed or anticipates being employed in any other occupation or employment must immediately notify the Department of Investigation.  A marshal who has a financial interest in a business or whose immediate family member has an interest in a business must disclose such interest to this Department.  Upon receipt of a notification under this section, the Department of Investigation will review all pertinent facts and circumstances to determine whether the outside employment is permissible and whether the financial interest of a marshal or his or her immediate family member in a business creates or might tend to create a conflict of interest.

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Section 2: DISCIPLINE

Section 2-1: Generally

Section 1610 of the New York City Civil Court Act provides that the Appellate Division may discipline by reprimand or censure, or may temporarily suspend or permanently remove any marshal for cause, provided that written charges are first filed with said court, and that the marshal be given due notice thereof and be afforded an opportunity to be heard at a full and complete hearing. In addition, Section 1610 of the Civil Court Act empowers the Appellate Division to suspend a marshal pending a hearing on disciplinary charges. Joint Administrative Orders 453 and 456 of the Appellate Division for the First and Second Departments, dated November 21, 1975 and February 27, 1976, respectively, deal in part with the disciplining of city marshals. 

These orders authorize the Director of the Bureau of City Marshals, or anyone else designated by the Commissioner of Investigation, to present evidence of incompetency, misconduct, or other wrongdoing to the Commissioner of Investigation.  The Commissioner may accordingly designate a qualified person to hear charges or refer the charges and evidence to the Appellate Divisions of the First and Second Departments for disciplinary action or removal proceedings. 

After a hearing of the charges, the Commissioner of Investigation may impose penalties upon a marshal, including suspension from the performance of official duties for a period not to exceed six months, for violation of the civil laws, the rules of the Appellate Divisions of the First and Second Departments, the rules of the Supreme Court, the Family Court, or the Civil Court of New York, the Directives of the Department of Investigation, or for incompetency or misconduct.

A marshal, after being furnished with a copy of the charges preferred against him, may knowingly waive a hearing and agree to a penalty prescribed by the Commissioner of Investigation.

Section 2-2: Department of Investigation Appearances

The Bureau of City Marshals receives and acts on complaints concerning city marshals.  In connection with these complaints, as well as inquiries into compliance with directives and other matters, marshals are directed, from time to time, to appear at the Department of Investigation.  City marshals must appear when directed, and may appear with counsel if they wish.

In connection with an investigation, a city marshal, or any of the marshal’s employees, independent contractors or agents may be directed to appear at the Department for the purpose of being photographed or of providing handwriting samples.

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