Local Law No 8 of 2019 AMEND THE PUTNAM COUNTY CODE ENTITLED ETHICS, CODE OF, AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE TO PROHIBIT THE DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL MATERIAL

RESOLUTION #154
Local Law 8 of 2019
(passed at Full Mtg. 07/02/2019)
RESOLUTION #154
APPROVAL/ LOCAL LAW TO AMEND THE PUTNAM COUNTY CODE ENTITLED ETHICS,
CODE OF, AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE TO PROHIBIT THE DISCLOSURE OF
CONFIDENTIAL MATERIAL
WHEREAS, the government of Putnam County necessarily reviews, considers,
creates, stores, and transmits documents containing information which is properly kept
confidential and is typically exempt from disclosure under the New York State Freedom
of Information Law; and
WHEREAS, such confidential material includes, but is not limited to, information:
1) that could interfere with criminal investigations or judicial proceedings; 2) identifying a
confidential law-enforcement source; 3) revealing criminal investigative techniques or
non-routine police procedures; 4) specifically exempted from disclosure by state or
federal statute; 5) that, if disclosed, would constitute an unwarranted invasion of
personal privacy; 6) that, if disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards
or collective bargaining negotiations; 7) that, if disclosed, could endanger the life or
safety of a person; 8) which could compromise the security of information technology
assets; and 9) constituting inter-agency or intra-agency materials which are not
statistical or factual tabulations or data, instructions to staff that affect the public; final
agency policy or determinations; or external audits; and
WHEREAS, confidential communications with counsel for Putnam County, and
documents created by counsel, are typically protected from disclosure by statutory and
common law privileges including the attorney-client privilege, the deliberative process
privilege, the settlement privilege, and the attorney work product doctrine; and
WHEREAS, confidential attorney-client communications are privileged from
disclosure pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules Section 4503, and New York Courts
including its highest court, the Court of Appeals, have long recognized that such
privilege serves to foster uninhibited dialogue between lawyers and clients in their
professional engagements, thereby ultimately promoting the administration of justice;
and
WHEREAS, improper disclosure of confidential material can be damaging to
individuals and preclude government from carrying out its duties, and
WHEREAS, improper disclosure of confidential communications with, and
materials prepared by, counsel can have a chilling effect upon the ability of county
officials and employees to seek the benefit of legal counsel, and also upon the ability of
counsel to provide full and candid advice, which in turn may adversely affect the
execution of officials’ and employees’ duties to the county; now therefore
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the County of Putnam as follows:
Chapter 55 (Ethics, Code of, and Financial Disclosure) of the Putnam County Code is
hereby amended, as follows:
Section 1.
Section 55-2 of the Putnam County Code is hereby amended by adding the following
definitions:
CONFIDENTIAL MATERIAL
A. Confidential Material shall include:
(1) Any record designated “Confidential” by any Putnam County officer
or employee, or by outside legal counsel or consultant to any
agency or the Legislature of Putnam County, who is the creator or
sender of such record;
(2) Any record exempt from disclosure under the New York State Public
Officers Law § 87(2); and
(3) Any information contained in the records described in paragraphs
(1) and (2) of this subsection.
B. Any record created by, or any communication to or from, the Putnam
County Law Department, Legislative Counsel, or outside counsel or
consultant retained by Putnam County, shall be presumed to be
Confidential Material even if not explicitly designated “Confidential.”
RECORD
Any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for an
agency or the Legislature of Putnam County, in any physical form whatsoever
(including electronic media) including, but not limited to, reports, statements,
examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets,
forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photographs, letters, microfilms,
computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes. The term shall include a
draft whether or not it results in a final document.
Section 2.
A new subsection 55-3(J) is hereby added to the Putnam County Code to read as follows:
J. No County officer or employee shall disclose, distribute, transmit, forward,
publicize, deliver, describe, or in any other way disseminate Confidential
Material to any person who is not also a Putnam County officer or
employee, or who is not outside legal counsel for Putnam County including
Legislative Counsel, and which person is authorized to receive such
Confidential Material as being within the scope of the receiver’s
employment, official duties, or engagement by or on behalf of Putnam
County.
Section 3.
A new subsection 55-4(G) is hereby added to the Putnam County Code to read as
follows:
G. Disclosure of Confidential Material under the following circumstances:
(1) Pursuant to FOIL requests approved by the County Attorney, the
Putnam County FOIL appeals officer, or by court order after
exhaustion or waiver of any court appeals;
(2) For Legislative records protected by the attorney-client privilege, the
deliberative process privilege, and/or constituting attorney work
product, when such privilege is explicitly waived by a unanimous
vote of the entire Legislature;
(3) Sharing of records within and between Putnam County officials and
government agencies, including the Legislature, provided that such
records must be conspicuously marked “CONFIDENTIAL” prior to
sharing; and
(4) Sharing of records with local, state or federal government agencies,
or with private consultants, vendors or contractors, for official
purposes related to the business of Putnam County, provided that
such sharing is approved by the County Attorney and further
provided that such records are conspicuously marked
“CONFIDENTIAL” prior to sharing.
Section 4.
These amendments to the Putnam County Code shall take effect immediately upon their
filing with the NYS Secretary of State.