This course provides an overview of the fundamental powers and duties of local government public officers, who play a crucial part in local government operations in towns, villages, cities and counties throughout New Your State. Public officers are persons who are elected or appointed to serve in local offices. Elected public officers include mayors and members of municipal governing boards. Appointed public officers include department heads, enforcement officials, and members of other boards such as planning boards and zoning boards of appeals. This course will review the basic requirements and guidelines for public officers to carry out their duties in local government, including basic qualifications, oath of office, official undertaking, vacancy in public office, holdover status, and defense and indemnification.
This course is 1.5 hours in length.
Text Version of the Course (pdf)
NOTE: Online courses are not available for in-service credit for code enforcement officers, continuing legal education credit for attorneys, or certification maintenance credit for members of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Some courses will produce a certificate at the end, and others will only produce your quiz results. The quiz results page should be used as proof of your training.
Resources Provided by DOS
New York Committee on Open Government
A unit of the New York Department of State that oversees and advises the government, public, and news media on Freedom of Information, Open Meetings, and Personal Privacy Protection Laws. The Committee offers guidance in response to phone inquiries, prepares written legal advisory opinions, and provides training to government and other interested groups. Recommendations to improve open government laws are offered in an annual report to Governor and the State Legislature.
Other New York State Resources
- New York State Constitution
- General Municipal Law Article 18
Article 18 of the General Municipal Law is the principal State statute governing conflicts of interest on the part of municipal officers and employees.
- New York Office of the State Comptroller Ethics Publications and Model Code of Ethics
- Opinions of the Office of the State Comptroller
- Opinions of the Office of the Attorney General
Online Training Help
What should I expect?
At the beginning of each course there is a short pre-test. Some courses may also include some knowledge checks in the body of the course as well. At the end of the course the student is given the option to take a final quiz and print out a personalized “certificate of completion.” The student may opt to skip the final quiz and advance to the end of the course, but in that scenario a certificate of completion will not be available.
How much time will it take to complete each course?
The courses range from between one and two hours long. Links to reference materials, such as New York State statutes, and Department of State land use publications and legal memoranda are offered throughout each of the courses. The linked materials supplement what is discussed in the course.
To access these links, you will need to turn off your browser’s pop-up blocker. You may also access these links or download documents from the webpage for each course. Students are encouraged to view these materials to get a better understanding of the subject matter. In depth review and study of the materials may add additional time for course completion.
Will I receive a certificate of completion for each course I take?
For each course you have the option of completing a final quiz. At the end of the quiz, you may enter your name as directed and print off a certificate of completion. The certificate will indicate the percentage of the questions you answered correctly. Each municipality may determine what percentage would constitute a passing score, and whether a certificate of completion is even necessary. A certificate of completion is not available if you do not take the final quiz.
What types of “training credit” do these courses offer?
The courses may satisfy a portion of a planning board or zoning board of appeals member’s annual training requirement as set forth by the municipality. If deemed locally as an acceptable form of training, we suggest that students present to their municipalities a printed copy of their test results upon completion of each course.
How do I register for the courses?
We do not require that you register for our online courses. You may simply go to the course homepage and open up the course. They are available 24 hours a day, unless the website is down for maintenance. If you need to exit a course without completing it, you should be able to resume the course where you left off when using the same computer.