[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Mine Hill 7-6-1995 by Ord. No. 575-95. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Mine Hill Township Code of Ethics."
The Township Council of the Township of Mine Hill finds and declares that:
Public office and employment are a public trust.
The vitality and stability of representative democracy depend upon the public's confidence in the integrity of its elected and appointed representatives.
Whenever the public perceives a conflict between the private interests and the public duties of a government officer or employee, that confidence is imperiled.
Governments have the duty both to provide their citizens with standards by which they may determine whether public duties are being faithfully performed and to apprise their officers and employees of the behavior which is expected of them while conducting their public duties.
It is the purpose of this chapter to provide a method of assuring that standards of ethical conduct and financial disclosure requirements for officers and employees of the Township of Mine Hill shall be clear, consistent, uniform in their application, enforceable and to provide those officers or employees with advice and information concerning possible conflicts of interests which might arise in the conduct of their public duties.
It is the further purpose of this chapter to implement the provisions of the Local Government Ethics Law, P.L. 1991, c. 29.
This chapter is enacted under the authority of the Local Government Ethics Law, P.L. 1991, c. 29, and under the further authority granted to the Township of Mine Hill under the provisions of Titles 40 and 40A of the New Jersey Statutes.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any agency, board, governing body, including the chief executive officer, office, commission or other instrumentality within the Township of Mine Hill, and any independent local authority created by or appointed under the authority of the Township of Mine Hill, which performs functions other than of a purely advisory nature.
- BUSINESS ORGANIZATION
- Any corporation, partnership, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, trust, sole proprietorship, union or other legal entity.
- Any person, whether compensated or not, whether part-time or full-time, employed by or serving on an agency who is not a local government officer.
- The ownership or control of more than 10% of the profits, assets or stock of a business organization but shall not include the control of assets in a nonprofit entity or labor union.
- MEMBER OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY
- A parent, sibling, spouse, child, or spouse of a child of an officer or employee, or anyone residing in the same household as an officer or employee.
- Any person, whether compensated or not, whether part-time or full-time:
- A. Elected to any office of an agency;
- B. Serving on an agency which has the authority to enact ordinances, approve development applications or grant zoning variances;
- C. Who is a member of an independent authority created by or appointed under the authority of the Township of Mine Hill;
- D. Who is a managerial executive or confidential employee, as defined in Section 3 of the "New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act," N.J.S.A. 34:13A-3, of the Township of Mine Hill or of any agency created under the authority of or appointed by the Township of Mine Hill.
- OFFICER or EMPLOYEE
- An officer or employee of the Township of Mine Hill or of any agency under the authority of or appointed by the Township of Mine Hill.
Officers and employees of the Township of Mine Hill shall comply with the following provisions:
No officer or employee of the Township of Mine Hill or member of his or her immediate family shall have an interest in a business organization or engage in any business, transaction, or professional activity which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his or her duties in the public interest;
No officer or employee shall use or attempt to use his or her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others;
No officer or employee shall act in his or her official capacity in any matter where he, a member of his or her immediate family, or any business organization in which he or she has an interest, has a direct or indirect financial or personal involvement that might reasonably be expected to impair his or her objectivity or independence of judgment;
No officer or employee shall undertake any employment or service, whether compensated or not, which might reasonably be expected to prejudice his or her independence of judgment in the exercise of his or her official duties;
No officer or employee, member of his or her immediately family, or any business organization in which he or she has an interest shall solicit or accept any gift, favor, loan, political contribution, service, promise of future employment, or other thing of value based upon an understanding that the gift, favor, loan, contribution, service, promise or other thing of value was given or offered for the purpose of influencing him directly or indirectly, in the discharge of his or her official duties. This provision shall not apply to the solicitation of or acceptance of contributions to the campaign of an announced candidate for elective public office, if the officer has no knowledge or reason to believe that the campaign contribution, if accepted, was given with the intent to influence the officer in the discharge of his or her official duties;
No officer or employee shall use, or allow to be used, his or her public office or employment, or any information, not generally available to the members of the public, which he or she receives or acquires in the course of and by reason of his or her office or employment for the purpose of securing financial gain for himself, any member of his or her immediate family, or any business organization with which he or she is associated;
No officer or employee or any business organization in which he or she has an interest shall represent any person or party other than the Township in connection with any use, proceeding, application or other matter pending before any agency of the Township of Mine Hill. This provision shall not be deemed to prohibit an employee from representing another employee where the representation is within the context of official labor union or similar representational responsibilities, nor shall this provision be applicable to the Township Public Defender with respect to representation of defendants in the Municipal Court;
No officer shall be deemed in conflict with these provisions, if by reason of his or her participation in the enactment of any ordinance, resolution or other matter required to be voted upon or which is subject to executive approval or veto, no material or monetary gain accrues to him or her as a member of any business, profession, occupation or group, to any greater extent than any gain could reasonably be expected to accrue to any other member of such business, profession, occupation or group;
No elected officer shall be prohibited from making an inquiry for information on behalf of a constituent, if no fee, reward, or other thing of value is promised to, given to or accepted by the officer or a member of his or her immediate family, whether directly or indirectly in return therefor;
Nothing shall prohibit any officer or employee of the Township of Mine Hill, or members of his or her immediate family, from representing himself, herself or themselves in negotiations or proceedings concerning his, her or their own interests;
No officer or employee elected or appointed to the Township shall, without receiving formal written authorization from the appropriate person or body, disclose any confidential information concerning any other officer or employee or any other person or any property or government affairs of the Township;
No officer or employee elected or appointed to the Township shall approve or disapprove and in any way recommend the payment of any bill, voucher, or indebtedness owed by the Township in which he has a direct or indirect personal, pecuniary or private interest;
No officer or employee elected or appointed to the Township shall request, use or permit the use of any public property, vehicle, equipment, labor or service for personal convenience or the private advantage of himself or any other person. This prohibition shall not be deemed to prohibit an official or employee from requesting, using or permitting the use of such public property, vehicle, equipment, material, labor or service which it is the general practice to make available to the public at large or which are provided as a matter of stated public policy for the use of officials and employees in the conduct of official business;
To avoid the appearance of impropriety, no officer or employee of the Township of Mine Hill shall meet in private with any developer, contractor, applicant, appellant or other person or their representatives, where such developer, contractor, applicant, or appellant or other person or their representatives has a pending, uncompleted matter filed with the Council or the Planning Board, which, in the ordinary course of events, will call upon such Council person or Planning Board member to exercise their legislative or quasi-judicial powers, unless such a private meeting has been directly authorized by the body in which membership is held or the individual member files a notice with the Township Clerk disclosing that such a meeting will take place, the anticipated location of such meeting and the purpose, if any, of such meeting. Unplanned or inadvertent meetings should be avoided. However, in recognition of the fact that occasional inadvertent or unplanned meetings occurred, a member involved in an unplanned or inadvertent meeting prescribed hereunder shall file a notice with the Township Clerk immediately subsequent to such meeting disclosing that such unplanned or inadvertent meeting has taken place. The Township Clerk shall maintain the file regarding such notices which shall be available for public inspection on reasonable advance notice.
Officers of the Township shall annually file a financial disclosure statement. All financial disclosure statements shall include the following information, which shall specify, where applicable, the name and address of each source and the officer's job title:
Each source of income, earned or unearned, exceeding $2,000 received by the officer or a member of his or her immediate family during the preceding calendar year. Individual client fees, customer receipts or commissions on transaction received through a business organization need not be separately reported as sources of income. If publicly traded security is the source of income, the security need not be reported unless the officer or member of his or her immediate family has an interest in the business organization;
Each source of fees and honorariums having an aggregate amount exceeding $250 from any single source for personal appearances, speeches, or writings received by the officer or a member of his or her immediate family during the preceding calendar year;
Each source of gifts, reimbursements or prepaid expenses having an aggregate value exceeding $400 from any single source, excluding relatives, received by the local government officer or a member of his or her immediately family during the preceding calendar year;
The name and address of all business organizations in which the local government officer or a member of his or her immediate family had an interest during the preceding calendar year; and
The address and brief description of all real property in the state in which the local government officer or a member of his or her immediate family held an interest during the preceding calendar year.
If a financial disclosure statement form has been promulgated by the New Jersey Local Finance Board, in accordance with New Jersey Local Government Ethics Law, then that form shall be used. The Township Clerk shall make the forms available to the officers and employees required to file a financial disclosure statement.
The original statement shall be filed with the Township Clerk within 90 days after the effective date of the New Jersey Local Government Ethics Law. All subsequent statements shall be filed on or before April 30 of each year, except that officers shall file a financial disclosure statement within 30 days of taking office.
All financial disclosure statements filed shall be public records.