[Adopted 2-13-2001 by Ord. No. 1-2001 (Ch. 113 of the 1990 Code)]
The governing body of this Township 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 public 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.
[Amended 10-31-2017 by Ord. No. 23-2017]
It is the purpose of this article to provide a method of assuring that standards of ethical conduct and financial disclosure requirements for officers and employees of the Township of Mount Olive shall be clear, consistent, uniform in their application and enforceable and to provide those officers and employees with advice and information concerning possible conflicts of interests which arise in the conduct of their public duties.
This article is enacted under the authority of the Local Government Ethics Law and under the further authority granted to the Township under the provisions of Titles 40 and 40A of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated, or any amendments or supplements thereto.
If at any time any provision of this article conflict with the laws of the State of New Jersey, New Jersey State law controls.
[Amended 10-31-2017 by Ord. No. 23-2017]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Local Government Ethics Law (P.L. 1991, c. 29), or any amendments or supplements thereto.
- The Mount Olive Township Ethical Standards Board, which is created by this chapter pursuant to the provisions of the Act.
- BUSINESS ORGANIZATION
- Any corporation, partnership, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, trust, sole proprietorship, union or other legal entity.
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Mount Olive Township Council.
- The ownership or control of 10% or more of the profits, assets or stock of a business organization but shall not include the control of assets in a nonunion profit entity or labor union.
- LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY
- As incorporated by reference from N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.3, any agency, board, governing body, including the chief executive officer, bureau, division, office, commission or other instrumentality within a county or municipality, and any independent local authority, including any entity created by more than one county or municipality, which performs functions other than of a purely advisory nature, but shall not include a school board.
- LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE
- Any person, whether compensated or not, whether part-time or full-time, employed by or serving on a local government agency who is not a local government officer, but shall not mean any employee of a school district.
- A. As incorporated by reference from N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.3.g, any person, whether compensated or not, whether part-time or full-time: (1) elected to any office of a local government agency; (2) serving on a local government agency, which has the authority to enact ordinances, approve development applications or grant zoning variances; (3) who is a member of an independent municipal, county or regional authority; or (4) who is a managerial executive employee of a local government agency, as defined in rules and regulations adopted by the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, P.L. 1968, c. 410 (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq.), but shall not mean any employee of a school district or member of a school board.
- B. More specifically, and subject to any amendment or supplement to the Local Government Ethics Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.1 et seq., and to any regulation promulgated thereunder, a local government officer includes the following titles or responsibilities equivalent to such titles:
- (1) Mayor;
- (2) Members of the Township Council;
- (3) Member of Township Planning Board;
- (4) Members of Township Zoning Board of Adjustment;
- (5) Members of the Township Board of Health;
- (6) Township Administrator;
- (7) Assistant Township Administrator;
- (8) Township Chief Financial Officer;
- (9) Township Clerk;
- (10) Deputy Township Clerk;
- (11) Township Department heads and deputy/assistant Department heads, including the Superintendent of Public Works;
- (12) Township Chief or Acting Chief of Police, or Officer in Charge in lieu of a Chief or Acting Chief title;
- (13) Township Deputy Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs of Police;
- (14) Township Engineer;
- (15) Township Health Officer;
- (16) Township Attorney;
- (17) Township Planning Board Attorney;
- (18) Township Zoning Board of Adjustment Attorney;
- (19) Township Emergency Management Coordinators;
- (20) Trustees on the Township Public Library Board of Trustees;
- (21) Township Prosecutor;
- (22) Members of Township Ethical Standards Board;
- (23) Township Tax Collector;
- (24) Township Qualified Purchasing Agent;
- (25) Township Construction Official; and
- (26) Township Tax Assessor.
- LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- A local government officer or a local government employee.
- MEMBER OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY
- The spouse or dependent child of a local government officer or employee residing in the same household.
- The Township of Mount Olive, in the County of Morris and State of New Jersey.
Officers and employees of the Township shall comply with the ethics provisions in effect under the State Enabling Act until a local set of ethics provisions are adopted by resolution of the Local Ethics Board which shall have 90 days to enact same after its appointment in accordance with the Act.
[Amended 10-31-2017 by Ord. No. 23-2017]
Local government officers shall annually file a financial disclosure statement. All financial disclosure statements filed pursuant to P.L. 1991, c. 29, shall include the following information which shall specify, where applicable, the name and address of each source and the local government officer's job title:
Each source of income, earned or unearned, exceeding $2,000 received by the local government officer or a member of his immediate family during the preceding calendar year. Individual client fees, customer receipts or commissions on transactions received through a business organization need not be separately reported as sources of income. If a publicly traded security is the source of income, the security need not be reported unless the local government officer or member of his 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 local government officer or a member of his 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 immediate 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 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 immediate family held an interest during the preceding calendar year.
The Local Finance Board shall prescribe a financial disclosure statement form for filing purposes. For counties and municipalities which have established ethics boards, the Local Finance Board shall transmit sufficient copies of the forms to the ethics boards for filing in accordance with this act. The Township Ethical Standards Board shall make the forms available to the local government officers within its jurisdiction.
Local government officers shall file the financial disclosure statement online at www.fds.nj.gov on or before April 30 each year, except that each local government officer shall file a financial disclosure statement within 30 days of taking office. Local government officials shall additionally file a copy of the financial disclosure form with the Township Ethical Standards Board. This mandatory online filing shall satisfy the filing requirements of N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.6.
All financial disclosure statements filed shall be public records.
By accepting employment with the Township of Mount Olive, all employees who are required under this section and under the statute giving rise to this section to file these financial disclosure statements understand and agree that the filing of said forms is a continuing condition to their employment. Although they may be hired before the forms are filed, they must comply with § 15-67C above in order to maintain their employment. Any employee who fails to meet the filing requirements of this section shall be deemed to have violated the provisions of this section and shall be given one month to cure said violation; if the violation is not cured within that timeframe, the violation shall constitute cause for that employee's forfeiture of his or her employment and consequent removal from employment. Filing of the form following notice of forfeiture shall not be a defense to dismissal.
Any official or officer appointed to any board, body, agency or other appointment (professional or otherwise) who is required by the terms of this section to file a financial disclosure statement understands and agrees that his or her appointment to said board, body, commission or employment is conditioned upon his or her continued compliance with the requirements of this section. Failure to file the financial disclosure statements within the time set forth above shall constitute cause for that appointee's forfeiture of his/her position and consequent removal of said individual from his/her employment/appointment. Filing of the forms following notice of forfeiture shall not be a defense to removal.
[Added 7-8-2003 by Ord. No. 25-2003]
No person who is a candidate for political office nor any person holding a political office shall be appointed to the Township's Ethical Standards Board, and any person who has already been appointed as a member of the Township's Ethical Standards Board who becomes a candidate and/or who holds political office shall vacate that position in order to achieve the public policy set forth above.
There is hereby established the Mount Olive Township Ethical Standards Board, consisting of six members who are residents of the Township, at least two of whom shall be public members. The members of the Board shall be appointed by the Township Committee. 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 Board shall be of the same political party.
The members of the Board shall annually elect a Chairman from among the membership.
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 member shall be appointed to serve for a term of three years. Each member shall serve until his/her 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 for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties under this chapter.
All hearings required pursuant to this chapter shall be conducted in conformity with the rules and procedures, insofar as they may be applicable, provided for hearings by a state agency in contested cases under the Administrative Procedure Act (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq. or any amendments or supplements thereto); provided, however, that pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act (N.J.S.A. 10:4-12b(8) or any amendments or supplements thereto), said hearings shall be held in closed session unless the officer or employee whose rights could be adversely affected requests, in writing, that said hearing be open to the public.
In the event that a hearing is to be held, the officer or employee charged with violation of this chapter shall be accorded due process of law, including but not limited to the following:
The right to counsel.
The right to prehearing discovery.
The right to take sworn oral and written testimony from any person.
Reasonable notice of hearing.
The right to subpoena persons and documents.
The right to make a stenographic record of the hearing.
The right of examination and cross-examination of witnesses.
Counsel fees, photocopying and other costs related to prehearing discovery, witness fees and costs of making and transcribing a record of the hearing shall be borne by the officer or employee and not by the Board or the Township.
The Clerk/Administrator shall provide the Board with the facilities needed for the conduct of its business and the preservation of its records and shall supply equipment and supplies as may be necessary and as may be provided for in the annual municipal budget.
All necessary expenses incurred by the Board and its members shall be paid, upon certification of the Chairman of the Board, by the Township's Chief Financial Officer within the limits of funds appropriated in the annual budget or by emergency appropriations for those purposes.
The Board may request and receive assistance from Township officers and employees, including the Clerk/Administrator and Township Solicitor, and 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 governing body for those purposes in the annual budget.
Within 90 days after the appointment of the Ethical Standards Board, the Board shall promulgate, by resolution, a Code of Ethics for all officers and employees serving the Township. Officers and employees serving an independent authority of the Township shall be deemed to be serving the Township for purposes of this section. In the event that the Ethical Standards Board shall not adopt standards by resolution, the standards in effect under the State Enabling Act shall apply.
The Board shall have the following powers:
To initiate, receive, hear and review complaints and hold hearings with regard to possible violations of the Township's Code of Ethics or financial disclosure requirements by officers or employees serving the Township.
To issue subpoenas for the production of documents and the attendance of witness with respect to its investigation of any complaint or to holding of a hearing.
To forward to the County Prosecutor or the Attorney General of New Jersey or other governmental body any information concerning violations of the Code of Ethics or financial disclosure requirements by officers or employees serving the Township which may warrant the institution of legal proceedings by the Attorney General.
To render advisory opinions to local officers or employees serving the Township as to whether a given set of facts and circumstances constitutes a violation of any provision of the Code of Ethics or financial disclosure requirement.
To enforce the provisions of the Code of Ethics and financial disclosure requirements with regard to officers and employees serving the Township and to impose penalties for the violation thereof as are authorized by this chapter.
To adopt rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter.
An officer or employee of the Township 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 shall not be made public except when the Board, by the vote of 2/3 of all its members, directs that the opinion be made public.
Public advisory opinions shall not disclose the name of the officer or employee requesting the same unless the Board specifically determines so in directing that the opinion be made public.
The Board, open receipt of a signed written complaint by any person alleging that the conduct of any officer or employee of the Township 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 the 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 concludes that the complaint is outside its jurisdiction or that it is 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 of the Township against whom the complaint was filed.
If the Board shall conclude that the complaint is within its jurisdiction and has at least a minimal factual basis, the Board shall notify the Township 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 to the Board any statement or information concerning the complaint which he/she wishes.
If the Board 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, the Board shall conduct a hearing in the manner prescribed by § 15-69E concerning the possible violation and any other facts and circumstances which may come to the attention of the Board 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 of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirements, and 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 of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirements, it may impose any penalties which it believes appropriate within the limits of this chapter and the Act.
An appointed officer or employee of the Township found guilty by the Ethical Standards Board of the violation of any provision of this chapter or any Code of Ethics in effect pursuant to this chapter shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500, which penalty may be collected in a summary proceeding pursuant to the Penalty Enforcement Law (N.J.S.A. 2A:58-1 et seq. or any amendments or supplements thereto). The Board shall report its findings to the office or agency having the power of removal or discipline of the appointed officer or employee and whether it recommends that further disciplinary action be taken.
An elected officer or employee of the Township found guilty by the Board of the violation of any provision of this chapter or of any Code of Ethics in effect pursuant to this chapter shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500, which penalty may be collected in a summary proceeding pursuant to the Penalty Enforcement Law (N.J.S.A. 2A:58-1 et seq., or any amendments or supplements thereto).
Editor's Note: N.J.S.A. 2A:58-1 et seq. was repealed by P.L. 1999, c. 274. See now N.J.S.A. 2A:58-10.
The finding by the Board that an appointed officer or employee of the Township is guilty of a violation of the provisions of this chapter or any Code of Ethics in effect pursuant to this chapter shall be sufficient cause for his/her removal, suspension or demotion or other disciplinary action by the officer or agency having the power of removal or discipline. When a person is in the career service and is found to have violated the provisions of this chapter or any Code of Ethics in effect pursuant to this chapter, the procedure leading to removal, suspension, demotion or other disciplinary action shall be governed by all applicable procedures of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated and the rules promulgated pursuant thereto.
All statements, complaints, requests or other written materials filed pursuant to this chapter and any rulings, opinions, judgments, transcripts or other official papers prepared pursuant to said chapter shall be preserved for a period of five years from the date of filing or preparation, as the case may be. Public disclosure of these various documents or materials shall be made only upon application to and approval by the Board, which shall apply the provisions of the Right to Know Act (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. or any amendments or supplements thereto) and Chapter 164, Article III, Open Public Records Fees, and said documents or materials shall be deemed confidential and not subject to public inspection and/or reproduction if, in the opinion of the Board, disclosure of the same would subject said officer or employee to unnecessary and inappropriate scrutiny or lead to embarrassment or if the person's right of privacy outweighs the public's right to know.