Borough of Fort Lee, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Derived from Ch. II, Sec. 2-20, of the Revised General Ordinances of the Borough of Fort Lee, 1978, adopted 3-1-1979. Amendments noted where applicable.]
A. 
There is hereby established a Board of Ethics consisting of six members who are residents of the Borough of Fort Lee, at least two of whom shall be public members. The members 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 Ethics Board shall be of the same political party.
B. 
The members of the Board of Ethics shall annually elect a Chairman from among the membership.
C. 
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 of Ethics shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired term.
D. 
Members of the Board of Ethics shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed by the municipality for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties under this chapter.
A. 
The governing body of the Borough of Fort Lee shall provide the Board of Ethics with offices for the conduct of its business and the preservation of its records and shall supply equipment and supplies as may be necessary.
B. 
All necessary expenses incurred by the Board of Ethics and its members shall be paid, upon certification of the Chairman of the Board, by the Municipal Treasurer within the limits of funds appropriated by the governing body by annual or emergency appropriations for those purposes.
C. 
The Board of Ethics 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 municipal governing body for those purposes.
A. 
Within 90 days after the establishment of the Board of Ethics, the Board shall promulgate by resolution a Municipal Code of Ethics for all officers and employees serving the municipality. Officers and employees serving a municipal independent authority shall be deemed to be serving the municipality for purposes of this chapter.
B. 
The Municipal 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)[1] or more restrictive, but shall not be less restrictive. Within 15 days following the promulgation thereof, the Municipal 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 of Fort Lee and shall be distributed to the Borough Clerk and the heads of the agencies serving the municipality for circulation among the officers and employees serving the municipality. The Board of Ethics shall hold a public hearing on the Municipal Code of Ethics not less than 30 days following its promulgation at which any officer or employee serving the Borough of Fort Lee and any other person wishing to be heard shall be permitted to testify. As a result of the hearing, the Board of Ethics may amend or supplement the Municipal Code of Ethics as it deems necessary. If the Municipal 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 of Ethics shall thereafter submit the Municipal Code of Ethics to the Local Finance Board in the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs for approval. A Municipal Code of Ethics requiring approval by the Local Finance Board shall take effect for all officers and employees serving the Borough of Fort Lee 60 days after approval by the Local Finance Board. A Municipal 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 of Ethics shall forward a copy of the Municipal Code of Ethics to the Borough Clerk and shall make copies of the Municipal Code of Ethics available to officers and employees serving the Borough of Fort Lee.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.1 et seq.
The Board of Ethics shall have the following powers:
A. 
To initiate, receive, hear and review complaints and hold hearings with regard to possible violations of the Municipal Code of Ethics or financial disclosure statements by officers or employees serving the Borough of Fort Lee.
B. 
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.
C. 
To forward to the County Prosecutor or the Attorney General or other governmental body any information concerning violations of the Municipal Code of Ethics or financial disclosure requirements by officers or employees serving the Borough of Fort Lee which may become the subject of criminal prosecution or which may warrant the institution of other legal proceedings by the Attorney General.
D. 
To render advisory opinions to officers or employees serving the Borough of Fort Lee as to whether a given set of facts and circumstances would constitute a violation of any provision of the Municipal Code of Ethics or financial disclosure requirements.
E. 
To enforce the provisions of the Municipal Code of Ethics and financial disclosure requirements with regard to officers or employees serving the Borough of Fort Lee and to impose penalties for the violation thereof as are authorized by this chapter.
F. 
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 of Fort Lee may request and obtain from the Board of Ethics an advisory opinion as to whether any proposed activity or conduct would in its opinion constitute a violation of the Municipal Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirements. Advisory opinions of the Board of Ethics shall not be made public, except when the Board of Ethics 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 of Ethics in directing that the opinion be made public so determines.
A. 
The Board of Ethics, upon receipt of a signed written complaint by any person alleging that the conduct of any officer or employee serving the Borough of Fort Lee is in conflict with the Municipal 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 of Ethics shall make a determination as to whether the complaint is within its jurisdiction or frivolous or without any reasonable factual basis. If the Board of Ethics 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 of Ethics 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 of Ethics with any statement or information concerning the complaint which he wishes. Thereafter, if the Board of Ethics determines that a reasonable doubt exists as to whether the officer or employee is in conflict with the Municipal 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 which may have come to its attention with respect to the conduct of the officer or employee. The Board of Ethics shall render a decision as to whether the conduct of the officer or employee is in conflict with the Municipal Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirements. This decision shall be made by no less than 2/3 of all members of the Board of Ethics.
B. 
If the Ethics Board determines that the officer or employee is in conflict with the code or any financial disclosure requirements, it may impose any penalties which it believes appropriate within the limitations of Section 10 of c. 29, P.L. 1991 (the Local Government Ethics Law).[1] A final decision of the Board of Ethics may be appealed to the Local Finance Board within 30 days of the decision.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.1 et seq.