Borough of Fort Lee, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Fort Lee 5-8-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-19. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BACKGROUND CHECK
A determination of whether a person has a criminal record, record of domestic violence, and/or other court/administrative orders/rulings which might negatively impact their fitness and suitability to participate as a youth coach, youth stipend coach, and/or volunteer by cross-referencing that person's name with those on file with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Identification Division, and/or the New Jersey State Bureau of Identification in the Division of State Police, the National Crime Information Center, National Sex Offender Public Registry, and/or Social Security Administration, or any such additional entities deemed as necessary and proper in the sole, good faith opinion, and discretion of the Borough Administrator.
BOROUGH
The Borough of Fort Lee, in the County of Bergen, State of New Jersey.
MUNICIPAL-SPONSORED YOUTH PROGRAM AND MUNICIPAL-SPONSORED YOUTH FUNCTION
Any program and/or function sponsored by the Borough of Fort Lee, including any municipal employees, volunteer organizations created by the municipality, and all leagues, boards, committees and commissions affiliated with, falling within the purview of, or acting for or on behalf of the Borough of Fort Lee and having contact with persons under the age of 18 years.
NON-MUNICIPAL-SPONSORED YOUTH PROGRAM
Any youth program not sponsored by the Borough of Fort Lee, but which utilizes municipal facilities/equipment or has affiliation with a municipal-sponsored youth program and has contact with persons under the age of 18 years.
PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 18, CHILD, CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND MINOR
Persons under the age of 18 and persons older than 18 who are subject to guardianships, or are adjudicated persons in need of supervision.
YOUTH PROGRAM
Any program that allows for participation in activities by those persons under the age of 18 years old. Activities may include, but are not limited to, sporting or athletic activities, passive recreation groups, clubs or camps and trips or other activities whereby some control and responsibility for children is assigned to some person for or on behalf of a municipal-sponsored youth program or non-sponsored youth program, other than a parent or caregiver.
A. 
Prior to any club organization not defined as a municipal-sponsored youth program being authorized to use municipal facilities/equipment for functions participated in by children, all adults, persons 18 years old or older, including but not limited to coaches, assistant coaches, stipend coaches, volunteers, or similar positions involved in education, directing or supervising minors, and in any way assisting in a non-municipal-sponsored youth program or function, shall submit sufficient information on forms promulgated by the private agency or Borough, as same may be amended from time to time, or other enforcement authority from the New Jersey State Police, and shall sign, date, and affirm the truth of the information submitted, for the purpose of obtaining a background check with the State Bureau of Identification in the New Jersey State Police. Applications for background checks, including any and all background check data, shall be processed by the Borough Administrator.
B. 
Prior to any club organization not defined as a municipal-sponsored youth program being authorized to use municipal facilities/equipment for functions participated in by children, all adults, persons 18 years old or older, including but not limited to coaches, assistant coaches, stipend coaches, volunteers, or similar positions involved in education, directing or supervising minors, and in any way assisting in a non-municipal-sponsored youth program or function, must provide the Borough Administrator with up-to-date findings of a background check, including any and all background check data, obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Identification Division and/or the State Bureau of Identification in the New Jersey State Police, the National Crime Information Center, National Sex Offender Public Registry, and/or Social Security Administration, or any such additional entities deemed as necessary and proper in the sole, good-faith opinion and discretion of the Borough Administrator.
C. 
The individual applying for the background check shall authorize the Borough Administrator to be the recipient of the response from the private agency or Borough Police Department, based upon the findings of the background check. Individuals involved in a non-municipal-sponsored youth program or function, and who are required to undergo background checks based upon this chapter, shall not be responsible for the costs involved with obtaining the background check. The Borough shall bear the costs for the background checks for the individuals qualified under this section.
D. 
The submission of background check findings must be based upon a check performed within one year of the start of use of the municipal facility. In the case of coaches performing duties as employees of a school district, the policy of background checks adopted by the individual school district shall be used to establish eligibility for use of municipal facilities/equipment. In all cases, the background check must comply with the provisions of any applicable laws regarding same, but not be less detailed than those performed by the municipality for individuals involved in administering municipal-sponsored youth programs. All fees for individuals not administering a non-municipal-sponsored youth program shall be borne by the Borough.
A. 
All adults, persons 18 years old or older, including but not limited to coaches, assistant coaches, volunteers, or similar positions involved in education, directing or supervising minors, and in any way assisting in a municipal-sponsored youth program or function participated in by children, shall submit sufficient information on forms promulgated by the private agency or Borough, as same may be amended from time to time, or other enforcement authority from the New Jersey State Police, and shall sign, date, and affirm the truth of the information submitted, for the purpose of obtaining a background check with the State Bureau of Identification in the New Jersey State Police. Applications for background checks, including any and all background check data, shall be processed by the Borough Administrator.
B. 
The individual applying for the background check shall authorize the Borough Administrator to be the recipient of the response from the private agency or Borough Police Department, based upon the findings of the background check. Individuals involved in a municipal-sponsored youth program or function, and who are required to undergo background checks based upon this chapter, shall not be responsible for the costs involved with obtaining the background check. The Borough shall bear the costs for the background checks for the individuals qualified under this section.
C. 
All league officers and/or those individuals in charge of each recreation program are required to ensure compliance with this chapter for that league or program. The president or leader of each recreation program shall file an annual roster of individuals that are required to participate in the background check procedures of this chapter. The roster shall be on forms supplied by the Borough, as same may be amended from time to time, and shall contain a certification as to the accuracy and completeness of the roster and individual names. Any person who knowingly certifies a background check roster that excludes an individual required to be checked shall be in violation of this chapter and laws regarding false swearing.
Individuals engaged in providing recreation opportunities for, or on behalf of, the Borough shall be issued annual identification cards with appropriate expirations based upon the date of their individual background check.
A. 
Upon receipt of a completed background check conducted by the private agency, Borough and/or the State Bureau of Identification in the New Jersey State Police, and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Identification Division, the Borough Administrator shall notify the applicant and the department head of the Borough Recreation Department, and the president or leader of the recreation program, of affirmative results. Details of the background check that result in a negative determination are available upon making a formal request to the Borough Administrator.
B. 
In the event that the background check reveals any prior convictions for violations, crimes, offenses, domestic violence and other court/administrative orders/rulings which negatively impact the health, safety and welfare of children, said person shall not be qualified to participate in any official capacity in any youth program or function with persons under the age of 18 years held at any municipal facilities and/or involving the use of municipal equipment. Such offenses shall include, but not limited to:
(1) 
In New Jersey, any crime or disorderly persons offense:
(a) 
Involving danger to the person, meaning those crimes and disorderly offenses set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1 et seq., including, but not limited to, criminal homicide, murder, manslaughter, etc.; N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 et seq., including, but not limited to, assault, reckless endangerment, threats, stalking, etc.; N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1 et seq., such as kidnapping; N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1 et seq., including, but not limited to, sexual assault; or N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 et seq., including, but not limited to, robbery;
(b) 
Against the family, children or incompetents, meaning those crimes and disorderly persons offenses set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:24-1 et seq., including, but not limited to, endangering the welfare of a child; or N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4 et seq., including, but not limited to, causing or permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act, knowing or intending that the sexual act will be reproduced or will be part of an exhibition or performance.
(c) 
Involving possession of weapons for unlawful purposes as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1 et seq., including, but not limited to, unlawful possession of weapons, and the manufacture, transport, disposition and defacement of weapons and dangerous instruments and appliances.
(d) 
Involving cruelty to animals as set forth in N.J.S.A. 4:22-1 et seq., including, but not limited to, overdriving, over loading, driving when overloaded, overworking, torturing, tormenting depriving of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beating or otherwise abusing, or needlessly mutilating or killing a living animal or creature;
(e) 
Involving arson and related offenses as set forth in Chapter 17 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes;
(f) 
Involving theft as set forth in Chapter 20 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes;
(g) 
Involving fraud as set forth in Chapter 21 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes;
(h) 
Involving any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog as set forth in Chapter 35 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.
(i) 
Any fourth-degree offense or higher.
(j) 
Any other sufficient causes deemed as necessary and proper in the sole, good-faith opinion and discretion of the Borough Administrator.
(2) 
In any other state or jurisdiction, conduct which, if committed in New Jersey, would constitute any of the violations, crimes, offenses, domestic violence and other court/administrative orders/rulings described in this section.
C. 
The list of violations, crimes, offenses, domestic violence and other court/administrative orders/rulings contained in this section is for illustrative purposes only and shall not be construed as a limitation on those criminal activities or violations that would be grounds to disqualify a person from assisting with youth programs, functions, or youth-related activities as indicated herein.
D. 
Refusal by individuals required to submit to background checks will result in an immediate dismissal of the individual from any municipal-sponsored youth programs or functions requiring background checks. In addition, refusal to comply with this chapter by an individual falling within the scope of requirements for non-sponsored youth programs will forfeit that that individual's ability to participate with the respective program. Refusal of a non-municipal-sponsored youth program to subscribe to the requirements of this chapter shall forfeit that program's ability to use municipal facilities/equipment, along with all other municipal support.
E. 
The Borough Administrator may accept an applicant with conditions, including but not limited to, any disqualifiable offense that resulted in a nonconviction, and any chargeable offense that does not meet the disqualification criteria set forth in this section, or other conditions deemed as necessary and proper in the sole, good-faith opinion and discretion of the Borough Administrator.
A. 
All nonsponsored youth programs that have individuals subject to this chapter shall supply background checks for all of its participants prior to the individual being able to participate at any function at a municipal facility to the extent covered by the chapter. Thereafter, every one year, or in a frequency deemed reasonable by the Borough, a new background check shall be submitted to the Borough Administrator.
B. 
Municipal-sponsored programs.
(1) 
All municipal-sponsored youth programs that have individuals subject to this chapter shall direct those individuals to the Borough Administrator for background checks prior to the individual being able to participate in any function sponsored by the Borough. Thereafter, every one year, or in a frequency deemed reasonable by the Borough, a new background check shall be submitted to the Borough Administrator.
(2) 
Individuals involved in municipal-sponsored youth programs who are required to undergo background checks shall be given an interim approval for participation only after submission to the Borough Administrator for a background check. Interim approvals shall only be granted in exigent circumstances and will only be valid for the period of time that it takes to receive background checks results. Such interim approval shall not be valid for a period of time exceeding 30 days. Only one interim approval may be granted per individual.
Any person whose background check disqualifies that person from employment or from volunteering or coaching may appeal his or his disqualification.
A. 
Appeal regarding accuracy of record. A person may challenge the accuracy of the background check and criminal history record.
(1) 
A challenge to the accuracy of the background check record shall be filed with the Borough Administrator, who shall coordinate the challenge when applicable.
(2) 
No person may appeal a disqualification on the grounds of accuracy of the background check record, if convicted of a fourth-degree offense or higher, if the person has been disqualified because that person has been convicted, adjudicated delinquent or acquitted by reason of insanity of aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; aggravated criminal sexual contact; kidnapping pursuant to Paragraph (3) of Subsection c of N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1; endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child pursuant to Subsection (a) of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4; endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to Paragraph (4) of Subsection b of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4; luring or enticing pursuant to Section 1 of P.L. 1993 c. 291 (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6); criminal sexual contact pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b) if the victim is a minor; kidnapping pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2; or false imprisonment pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3 if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim; knowingly promoting prostitution of a child pursuant to Paragraph (3) or Paragraph (4) of Subsection b of N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1; or an attempt to commit any of these enumerated offenses.
(3) 
Appeals process. An appeal based on accuracy of the background check record shall be made to the Borough Administrator. The Borough Administrator may call and cross-examine witnesses, present documentary evidence, and be represented by counsel of their choosing, to submit written argument(s) and reach a written decision, if they so request. Any such appeal must be made within 30 days of receipt of the notice of disqualification.
(4) 
If the Borough Administrator determines that the facts were inaccurate so as to allow a disqualified person service, s/he shall enter the person's name on the list of qualified employees, coaches and volunteers that s/he maintains.
B. 
Appeal alleging rehabilitation. A person may claim to be rehabilitated.
(1) 
No person may appeal a disqualification on the grounds of rehabilitation, if convicted of a fourth-degree offense or higher, if the person has been disqualified because that person has been convicted, adjudicated delinquent or acquitted by reason of insanity of aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; aggravated criminal sexual contact; kidnapping pursuant to Paragraph (3) of Subsection c of N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1; endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child pursuant to Subsection a of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4; endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to Paragraph (4) of Subsection b of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4; luring or enticing pursuant to Section 1 of P.L. 1993 c. 291 (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6); criminal sexual contact pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b) if the victim is a minor; kidnapping pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2; or false imprisonment pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3 if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim; knowingly promoting prostitution of a child pursuant to Paragraph (3) or Paragraph (4) of Subsection b of N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1; or an attempt to commit any of these enumerated offenses.
(2) 
Appeals process. An appeal based on rehabilitation of the background check record shall be made to the Borough Administrator. The Borough Administrator may call and cross-examine witnesses, present documentary evidence, be represented by counsel of their choosing, to submit written argument(s) and reach a written decision, if they so request. Any such appeal must be made within 30 days of receipt of the notice of disqualification.
(3) 
Rehabilitation criteria. In determining whether a person has affirmatively demonstrated rehabilitation, the Borough Administrator shall consider the following factors:
(a) 
The nature and responsibility of the position which the convicted person would hold or has held, as the case may be;
(b) 
The nature and seriousness of the offense;
(c) 
The circumstances under which the offense occurred;
(d) 
The date of the offense;
(e) 
The age of the person when the offense was committed;
(f) 
Whether the offense(s) was an isolated or repeated incident;
(g) 
Any social conditions which may have contributed to the offense; and
(h) 
Any other evidence of rehabilitation, including good conduct in the community, counseling or psychiatric treatment received, successful participation in correctional work-release programs, or the recommendation of those who have had the person under their supervision.
(4) 
If the Borough Administrator determines that the disqualified person has been successfully rehabilitated, or facts inaccurate so as to allow them service, s/he shall enter the person's name on the list of qualified employees, coaches and volunteers.
A. 
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., the Open Public Records Act, any and all criminal background checks supplied to the Borough Administrator shall be filed and maintained in a secure and locked cabinet or room and shall not be available to the public. The Borough Administrator shall take appropriate steps to safeguard such records. The records shall be exempt from public disclosure under the common law or the New Jersey Right to Know Law. The records shall only be retained for such period of time as is necessary to serve their intended and authorized purposes, and thereafter shall be destroyed.
B. 
Access to criminal history record information for noncriminal justice purposes, including licensing and employment, is restricted to the members of the review committee, as authorized by federal or state statute, rule or regulation, executive order, local ordinance or resolution regarding obtaining and disseminating of criminal history record information obtained under this section.
C. 
The review committee shall limit its use of criminal history record information solely to the individual for which it was obtained, and the criminal history record information furnished shall not be disseminated to persons or organizations not authorized to receive the records for authorized purposes. This information shall be limited solely to the authorized purpose for which it was given and it shall not be disseminated to any unauthorized persons. Any person violating federal or state regulations governing access to criminal history records may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties.
A. 
Failure to comply with this chapter may result in the Borough withholding funding for the nonprofit, youth-serving organization, prohibiting the use of municipal facilities/equipment, or withholding funding for facility maintenance.
B. 
Any individual who has been advised, verbally or in writing of his/her disqualification to participate and continues to participate upon conviction thereof in a proceeding before a court of competent jurisdiction shall be subject to the following fines:
(1) 
A fine of not less than $250 and not more than $2,500.
(2) 
Each continuing violation of this chapter shall constitute a separate offense.