New York State
Ethics Commission

Advisory Opinion No. 92-5: Application of the financial disclosure requirements of Public Officers Law §73-a to State employees in the "Research Scientist" series.

On May 21, 1991, the State Ethics Commission issued Advisory Opinion No. 91-10, establishing a two-part, short-form financial disclosure filing requirement for approximately 400 State employees serving in the "Research Scientist" series of titles (described therein). The two-part filing system requires all covered Research Scientists to file form "RS-1" with the Commission. Those who also apply for grants are to file form "RS-2" with the Commission when they first apply for grants; certain information is to be updated upon subsequent grant applications within a year.

In the Advisory Opinion, the Commission set up a two-year test period, after which a review of the Research Scientist filing requirement was to take place.

As soon as the opinion took effect, the Commission began to gather data from the eight agencies with Research Scientist staff to determine whether the process set by Advisory Opinion No. 91-10 was efficient and effective. Commission staff believed that the two-part filing would save paperwork since only those Research Scientists who applied for grants must file a form RS-2. Staff learned otherwise, however. Since close to 90% of all Research Scientists apply for grants on a regular basis, almost all of them are required to file both forms. Affected State agency administrators report that use of the two forms, one of which is filed intermittently, causes confusion. They recommended that forms RS-1 and RS-2 be combined to simplify the process.

Therefore, in response to the gathered information and suggestions, the Commission hereby revises Advisory Opinion 91-10 to require a single short-form filing from all Research Scientists (form "RS-3"). The new form shall be similar in content to the form set out in Appendix A of this opinion, which combines questions that originally appeared in RS-1 and RS-2.

The annual filing will track the same cycle which applies to State employees required to file financial disclosure statements: the Commission will disseminate forms to Research Scientists in April to be filed on or before May 15 each year.

Research Scientists who fail to file the required information with the Commission, or who file a deficient statement, shall be subject to the same penalties provided in Executive Law §94 for failure to file, or deficient filing, of a financial disclosure statement under Public Officers Law §73-a.

This opinion, until and unless amended or revoked, is binding on the Commission.

All concur:

Joseph M. Bress, Chair

Angelo A. Costanza
Donald A. Odell, Members

Dated: March 19, 1992

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