City Marshals

City Marshals

The New York City Civil Court Act authorizes up to 83 city marshals to serve as enforcement officers of the Civil Court. Candidates applying for appointment to the office of city marshal are evaluated by the Mayor's Committee on City Marshals, and their backgrounds are thoroughly checked by the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI). Only after a positive recommendation by the Committee can an applicant be appointed by the Mayor to a five-year term. Every new appointee must, at a minimum, be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, satisfactorily complete DOI's training course, be a U.S. citizen, reside in the City of New York or in the County of Nassau, Westchester, Suffolk, Orange, Rockland, or Putnam, and demonstrate ability to obtain a public officer's bond, currently in the amount of $100,000.

City marshals are not employees of the City nor of the Civil Court, nor do they receive City salaries. Rather, marshals are independent public officers who earn their incomes from fees, paid by the parties to court cases, for the services they render in connection with the enforcement of court orders, including evictions, money judgments, and orders for the seizure of property. New York State Law (C.P.L.R. Sections 8011 through 8014) sets forth the fees and expenses payable to a sheriff for various official acts; these same fees are applicable to city marshals. City marshals are not peace officers.

In some respects, city marshals operate as private entrepreneurs in that they pay their own overhead expenses and their personal incomes depend upon their own productivity in attracting clients, performing work, and collecting fees. As public officers, however, marshals are also subject to supervision and discipline by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court and DOI. City marshals must follow detailed rules and procedures that, among other things, govern the manner in which they maintain official records and manage and account for all monies they receive, and every marshal must maintain uncompromised integrity in office. Marshals are responsible for the proper performance of their duties, whether they perform them personally or use the services of an employee or other person. Furthermore, many official acts must be performed personally by the marshal, and the marshal must display his or her badge when performing any official act.

The position of city marshal is full-time; marshals may not actively participate in other employment or business activities or have interests in certain kinds of businesses that are deemed to involve conflicts of interest. City pension benefits are suspended for those beneficiaries who hold the office of city marshal. This suspension of City pension benefits does not apply to retired New York City police officers, correction officers, fire marshals, and deputy sheriffs. New York City retirees from other job titles may apply for waivers.

A marshal who opens an office faces significant start-up costs, including rent, utilities, salaries, benefits, computer and telephone service, stationery, business supplies, and accounting, advertising, and legal expenses, which are likely to outpace his income, at least initially. Every marshal must also purchase a badge and a public officer's surety bond and pay taxes and an annual fee to the City of New York. Additionally, most marshals need cars for official business. To meet such expenses, a marshal should have sufficient liquid assets that can be readily converted to cash.

Some marshals, when newly appointed, have begun their service by performing official acts for experienced city marshals - operating out of established marshals' offices, earning their own fees, and sharing overhead expenses. In such an arrangement, the new marshal gains experience and the opportunity to develop his own sources of work and income. In time, the new marshal may become productive enough to support his own office. Whether a marshal shares an office or maintains his own, it must be open a minimum of eight hours each business day, accessible to and suitable for the public, and in premises properly approved for office use.

Those applicants invited for an interview before the Mayor's Committee are strongly encouraged to first familiarize themselves with the office of city marshal by, for example, reviewing the Marshals Handbook of Regulations, which is posted on DOI's web site (accessible at, reviewing Article 16 of the New York City Civil Court Act, and by speaking with one or more current marshals and with attorneys and others who are familiar with their services.

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