MISSION STATEMENT

The Committee on Ethics and Guidance is a standing committee of the New York State Assembly composed of eight members, including the Chair. The Speaker and the Minority Leader each appoint four members. Notably, the Ethics and Guidance Committee is the only standing committee in the Assembly with an equal number of members from the Majority and Minority conferences.
Read More of the Mission Statement

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Members of the Assembly sit on the Ethics and Guidance Committee?
The Ethics and Guidance Committee members are: Jo Anne Simon, Chair, Joseph M. Giglio, Ranking Member, Catalina Cruz, Mary Beth Walsh, Charles D. Lavine, Kenneth P. Zebrowski, Peter A. Lawrence and Michael A. Montesano. The Ethics Committee is the only committee in the New York State Assembly that has an equal number of members from the Majority and Minority conferences.

Where does the Ethics and Guidance Committee get its authority?
The Ethics and Guidance Committee is authorized to take action by the Assembly Rules; the Assembly Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation; and the Assembly Policy Prohibiting Fraternization with Student Interns; and at the direction of the Speaker.

What is the Ethics and Guidance Committee responsible for?
The Committee's primary role is to review complaints that Members of the New York State Assembly violated the Assembly Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation and the Assembly Policy Prohibiting Fraternization with Student Interns.

Who can make a complaint to the Assembly Committee on Ethics and Guidance?
Any person who believes he or she has been subjected to conduct by an Assemblymember that violates the Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation or the Policy Prohibiting Fraternization with Student Interns can make a complaint to the Committee on Ethics and Guidance.

How does a person make a complaint?
There are a number of ways a complaint can be initiated. Complaints regarding an Assemblymember can be made by complaint form, phone, email, regular mail or in person to the Committee Chair, or the independent counsels listed on the first page of the Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation and the Policy Prohibiting Fraternization with Student Interns. Complaints regarding an Assembly employee should be made to the independent counsel listed on the first page of the policies.

Is a person who feels he or she has been subjected to harassment, discrimination or retaliation required to report the alleged misconduct to the Ethics and Guidance Committee?
No. There is no such requirement. But the Ethics and Guidance Committee encourages victims to file a complaint. The Committee makes every effort to keep the name of an alleged victim confidential, consistent with its obligation to conduct a thorough investigation and prevent retaliation. The Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation also requires that employees' and student interns' complaints be listened to and treated respectfully.

Is there anyone who is required to report an alleged violation of the Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Policy?
Yes, all Assemblymembers, managers and supervisors are considered mandatory reporters under the policy. This means if an Assemblymember, manager or supervisor becomes aware of alleged misconduct, he or she must report it. The obligation on mandatory reporters applies whether the alleged misconduct is committed by an Assemblymember or an employee.

How quickly are investigations conducted?
The Assembly Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation requires all investigations be completed timely and targets a 30 day period to complete an investigation, if practicable. But thoroughness is not sacrificed for speed and sometimes the availability of witnesses or the process of obtaining documentary evidence may cause an investigation to exceed the 30-day target. If an investigation reasonably cannot be completed within 30 days, the independent investigator is required to make an interim report regarding the status of the investigation and the reason or reasons for the delay.

Are complaints and investigations matters of public record?
No. All complaints are considered confidential, as is the investigation to the extent reasonably possible. After the investigation is completed, the independent counsel gives to the Ethics and Guidance Committee a confidential investigative report detailing the evidence, findings, proposed conclusions and recommendations.

What happens after the Committee receives an investigative report from the independent counsel?
The Ethics and Guidance Committee deliberates, based on the investigative report and any other information and evidence that it obtains through sworn testimony at a confidential hearing. If the Committee finds that a violation has occurred, it then makes a report in writing to the Speaker of the Assembly, including any disciplinary recommendations. The name of the complainant is not included in the letter to the Speaker.

Who has the authority to discipline a Member of the Assembly if the Committee finds that he or she violated the Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation or the Policy Prohibiting Fraternization with Student Interns?
Based upon the recommendations of the Ethics and Guidance Committee, the Speaker of the Assembly makes the final determination as to whether the Assemblymember violated the policy and may impose appropriate discipline.

Is the Speaker's final determination and discipline of an Assemblymember confidential?
No. Under the Assembly Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation, "[a]ny findings and discipline shall be made public." The Committee's report to the Speaker is also made public at the same time that the Speaker imposes any discipline. However, the name of the complainant is not included in the Speaker's determination released to the public.

Chair

Standing Committee on  Ethics and Guidance Chair  Jo Anne Simon Jo Anne Simon

Address

LOB 435
Albany, NY 12248

Contact

You can call the confidential complaint line at (518) 915-3933

Members