[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Norwood 4-7-2004 by Ord. No. 04:05. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall be deemed to have the meanings indicated:
- BOARD or ETHICS BOARD
- The Norwood Ethics Board established by this chapter.
- The Borough of Norwood.
There is hereby established a Norwood Board of Ethics consisting of six members who are residents of the Borough, at least two of whom shall be public members. The members of the Board shall be appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Borough Council. Members of the Board shall be chosen by virtue of their known and consistent reputation for integrity and their knowledge of local government affairs. No more than three members of the Board shall be of the same political party.
The members of the Board shall annually elect a Chairperson from among the membership of the Board.
The members shall serve for terms of five years; except that of the members initially appointed, two of the public members shall be appointed to serve for terms of five years, one member shall be appointed to serve for a term of four years and the remaining members shall be appointed to serve for terms of three years. Each member shall serve until his successor has been appointed and qualified. Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the Board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired term.
Members of the Board shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed by the Borough for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties under this chapter.
The Mayor and Council of the Borough shall provide the Board with offices for the conduct of its business and the preservation of its records and shall supply equipment and supplies as may be necessary.
All necessary expenses incurred by the Board and its members shall be paid, upon certification of the Chairman of the Board, by the Treasurer within the limits of funds appropriated by the Mayor and Council by annual or emergency appropriations for those purposes.
The Board may appoint employees, including independent counsel, and clerical staff as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter within the limits of funds appropriated by the Mayor and Council for those purposes.
Within 90 days after the establishment of the Board, the Board shall promulgate by resolution a Code of Ethics for all officers and employees serving the Borough. Officers and employees serving a Borough independent authority shall be deemed to be serving the Borough for purposes of this chapter.
The Code of Ethics so promulgated by the Board shall be either identical to the provisions set forth in Section 5 of c. 29, P.L. 1991 (the Local Government Ethics Law)or more restrictive, but shall not be less restrictive. Within 15 days following the promulgation thereof, the Code of Ethics, and a notice of the date of the public hearing to be held thereon, shall be published in at least one newspaper circulating within the Borough and shall be distributed to the Borough Clerk and the heads of the agencies serving the Borough for circulation among the officers and employees serving the municipality. The Board shall hold a public hearing on the Code of Ethics not less than 30 days following its promulgation at which any officer or employee serving the Borough and any other person wishing to be heard shall be permitted to testify. As a result of the hearing, the Board may amend or supplement the Code of Ethics as it deems necessary. If the Code of Ethics is not identical to the provisions set forth in Section 5 of c. 29, P.L. 1991 (the Local Government Ethics Law), the Board shall thereafter submit the Code of Ethics to the Local Finance Board in the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs for approval. A Code of Ethics requiring approval by the Local Finance Board shall take effect for all officers and employees serving the Borough 60 days after approval by the Local Finance Board. A Code of Ethics identical to the provisions set forth in Section 5 of c. 29, P.L. 1991 (the Local Government Ethics Law) shall take effect 10 days after the public hearing held thereon. The Board shall forward a copy of the Code of Ethics to the Borough Clerk and shall make copies of the Code of Ethics available to officers and employees serving the Borough.
The Board shall have the following powers:
To initiate, receive, hear and review complaints and hold hearings with regard to possible violations of the Code of Ethics or financial disclosure statements by officers or employees serving the Borough.
To issue subpoenas for the production of documents and the attendance of witnesses with respect to its investigation of any complaint or to the holding of a hearing.
To forward to the County Prosecutor or the Attorney General or other governmental body any information concerning violations of the Code of Ethics or financial disclosure requirements by officers or employees serving the Borough, which may become the subject of criminal prosecution or which may warrant the institution of other legal proceedings by the Attorney General.
To render advisory opinions to officers or employees serving the Borough as to whether a given set of facts and circumstances would constitute a violation of any provision of the Code of Ethics or financial disclosure requirements.
To enforce the provisions of the Code of Ethics and financial disclosure requirements with regard to officers or employees serving the Borough and to impose penalties for the violation thereof as are authorized by this chapter.
To adopt rules and regulations and to do other things as are necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter.
An officer or employee serving the Borough may request and obtain from the Board an advisory opinion as to whether any proposed activity or conduct would, in its opinion, constitute a violation of the Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirements. Advisory opinions of the Board shall not be made public except when the Board, by the vote of 2/3 of all of its members, directs that the opinion be made public. Public advisory opinions shall not disclose the name of the officer or employee unless the Board in directing that the opinion be made public so determines.
The Board, upon receipt of a signed written complaint by any person alleging that the conduct of any officer or employee serving the Borough is in conflict with the Code of Ethics or financial disclosure requirements, shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 30 days of receipt and initiate an investigation concerning the facts and circumstances set forth in the complaint. The Board shall make a determination as to whether the complaint is within its jurisdiction or frivolous or without any reasonable factual basis. If the Board shall conclude that the complaint is outside its jurisdiction, frivolous or without factual basis, it shall reduce that conclusion to writing and shall transmit a copy thereof to the complainant and to the officer or employee against whom the complaint was filed. Otherwise, the Board shall notify the officer or employee against whom the complaint was filed of the nature of the complaint and the facts and circumstances set forth therein. The officer or employee shall have the opportunity to present the Board with any statement or information concerning the complaint which he wishes. Thereafter, if the Board determines that a reasonable doubt exists as to whether the officer or employee is in conflict with the Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirements, it shall conduct a hearing in conformity with the rules and procedures, insofar as they be applicable, provided for hearings by a state agency in contested cases under the Administrative Procure Act, P.L. 1968, c. 410 (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq.) concerning the possible violation and any other facts and circumstances that may have come to its attention with respect to the conduct of the officer or employee. The Board shall render a decision as to whether the conduct of the officer or employee is in conflict with the Code or any financial disclosure requirements. This decision shall be made by no less than 2/3 of all members of the Board.
If the Board determines that the officer or employee is in conflict with the Code or any financial disclosure requirements, it may impose any penalties that it believes appropriate within the limitations of Section 10 of c. 29, P.L. 1991 (the Local Government Ethics Law). A final decision of the Board of Ethics may be appealed to the Local Finance Board within 30 days of the decision.