Township of Piscataway, NJ
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[1972 Code § 4-15.1]
The Township Council finds and declares that:
a. 
Public office and public employment are public trusts.
b. 
The vitality and stability of representative democracy depend upon the public's confidence in the integrity of elected and appointed representatives.
c. 
The public's confidence in public officials and employees is imperiled whenever the public perceives a conflict between the private interests and the public duties of a governmental officer or employee.
d. 
Government has the duty to provide its citizens with standards by which the public can appraise the extent to which public duties are faithfully performed, as well as to inform public officers and employees of the behavior expected of them in the conduct of their public duties.
[1972 Code § 4-15.2]
a. 
This section will assure that standards of ethical conduct and financial disclosure requirements for officers and employees of the Township of Piscataway are clear, consistent, enforceable and uniform in their application; further, this section provides advice and information concerning possible conflicts of interest which might arise in the conduct to public duties.
b. 
This section implements the provisions of the Local Government Ethics Law, P.L., 1991, c. 29.
[1972 Code § 4-15.3]
As used in this section:
a. 
AGENCY — Shall mean any agency, board, governing body, office, commission or other instrumentality within the Township of Piscataway and any independent local authority created by or appointed under the authority of the Township of Piscataway which performs functions other than those of a purely advisory nature. "Agency" shall include the Chief Executive Officer of the Township.
b. 
EMPLOYEE — Shall mean any person, whether or not such person receives compensation, whether part-time or full-time, employed by or serving on an agency who is not a local government officer.
c. 
LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICER — Shall mean 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 or confidential employee of a local government agency, as defined in Section 3 of the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act, N.J.S.A. 34:13A-3, but shall not mean any employee of a school district or member of a school board.
[1972 Code § 4-15.4]
a. 
The Piscataway Township Board of Ethics (herein "Board") shall consist of six members who are residents of Piscataway Township, at least two of whom shall be public members. The members of the Board shall be appointed by the Township Council and chosen for their reputations for integrity and their knowledge of local government affairs. No more than three members of the Board shall belong to the same political party.
b. 
The members of the Board shall annually elect a Chairperson from among the membership.
c. 
The members shall serve for a term of five years except that of the members initially appointed two of the public members shall be appointed to serve for a term 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 a term of three years. Each member shall serve until his or 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.
d. 
Members of the Board shall serve without compensation although any member may be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of his or her duties.
[1972 Code § 4-15.5]
a. 
The Township Business Administrator shall provide the Board with all facilities needed for the conduct of its business and the preservation of its records and shall supply equipment and supplies as necessary in accordance with the provision therefor contained within the municipal budget.
b. 
All necessary expenses incurred by the Board and its members shall be paid, upon certification of the Chairperson of the Board, by appropriate municipal officials within the appropriation therefor in the annual budget or by emergency appropriation therefor.
c. 
The Board may request and receive assistance from municipal officers and employees, including the Township Clerk and the Township Attorney, and may appoint employees, including independent counsel and clerical staff, as the Board deems necessary, to carry out the provisions of this section within the limits of funds appropriated by the Township Council for those purposes.
[1972 Code § 4-15.6]
a. 
The Township has promulgated the Code of Ethics for all officers and employees of the Township, which is identical to the provisions of Local Government Ethics Law N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.5.
b. 
The Board may amend or supplement the Code of Ethics as it deems necessary following a public hearing.
c. 
The Board shall forward a copy of the Code of Ethics to the Township Clerk and shall make copies available.
[1972 Code § 4-15.7]
The Piscataway Township Board of Ethics shall have the following powers:
a. 
To initiate, receive, hear and review complaints and hold hearings on possible violations of the Code of Ethics or financial disclosure requirements by local government officers or employees serving the Township.
b. 
To issue subpoenas for the production of documents and the attendance of witnesses as to its investigation of any complaints or as to its conduct of a hearing.
c. 
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 Township which may warrant the institution of other legal proceedings by the Attorney General.
d. 
To render advisory opinions to local officers or employees serving the Township 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.
e. 
To enforce the provisions of the Code of Ethics and financial disclosure requirements as to officers and employees serving the Township and to impose penalties for violations thereof.
f. 
To adopt rules and regulations and to do any and all other things necessary to implement this section.
[1972 Code § 4-15.8]
a. 
A Township officer or employee may request and obtain from the Board an advisory opinion as to whether any proposed activity or conduct would constitute a violation of the Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirement.
b. 
No advisory opinion shall be made public except when the Board (by the vote of 2/3 of all its members) directs that the opinion be made public.
c. 
Public advisory opinions shall not disclose the name of the officer or employee or the position unless the Board in directing that the opinion be made so public specifically determines otherwise.
[1972 Code § 4-15.9]
a. 
The Board, upon receipt of a signed written complaint by any person alleging that the conduct of any officer or employee of the Township conflicts with the Code of Ethics or financial disclosure requirements, shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 30 days thereafter and shall initiate an investigation concerning the facts and circumstances set forth in the complaint.
b. 
The Board shall determine whether the complaint is within its jurisdiction or whether the complaint is frivolous or without any reasonable factual basis. If the Board concludes that the complaint is outside its jurisdiction or frivolous or without factual basis, it shall reduce its conclusion to writing, transmitting a copy thereof to the complainant, to the local government officer or employee against whom the complaint was filed and to the Township Attorney.
c. 
If the Board concludes that the complaint is within its jurisdiction and has at least a minimal factual basis, the Board shall notify the local government officer or employee against whom the complaint was filed that the complaint was filed and shall summarize the nature of the complaint and the facts and circumstances set forth therein. Thereafter, the local government officer or employee charged shall have the opportunity to present any statement or information addressing the complaint which he or she wishes to present. If the Board determines that a reasonable doubt exists as to whether the local government officer or employee is in conflict with the Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirement, the Board shall schedule and conduct a hearing concerning the complaint and all facts or circumstances relating to the conduct of the local government officer or employee which is relevant to the charge.
d. 
As expeditiously as possible, the Board shall render a decision on the charge which shall include a summary of the facts presented before the Board, factual conclusions reached by the Board and a ruling as to whether the conduct of the local government officer or employee is in conflict with the Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirement. No decision shall be rendered without the active participation of at least 2/3 of all members of the Board; a member of the Board who abstains from voting on the decision shall not be deemed by his or her abstention alone not to have actively participated in the decision making process.
e. 
All hearings shall be conducted in conformity with the rules and procedures, as applicable, provided for hearings held by a State agency in contested cases in accordance with N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1, et seq.
f. 
If a hearing is held by the Board, the local government officer or employee charged with a violation of this section shall be accorded due process of law, including but not limited to, his or her right to counsel; right to prehearing discovery; right to take sworn oral or written testimony from any person; right to receive reasonable notice of hearing; right to subpoena persons and documents; right to make a stenographic record of the hearing; and right to examine and cross-examine witnesses.
g. 
If the Board determines that the local government officer or employee is in conflict with the Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirement, it may impose any penalties which it believes appropriate within the limits provided by this section.
[1972 Code § 4-15.10]
a. 
An appointed local government officer or employee found guilty by the Board of Ethics of violating any provision of any Code of Ethics in effect pursuant to this section shall be fined no less than $100 nor more than $500, which penalty may be collected in a summary proceeding in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:58-1 or its successor. The Board shall report its findings to the office or agency having the power of removal or discipline of the appointed local government officer or employee and may recommend that further disciplinary action be taken.
b. 
Any elected local government officer or employee of the Township found guilty by the Board of the violation of any provision of any Code of Ethics in effect pursuant to this section shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500, which penalty may be collected in a summary proceeding pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:58-1 or its successor.
c. 
A finding by the Board that an appointed local government officer or employee of the Township is guilty of violating any provision of any Code of Ethics in effect pursuant to this section shall be sufficient cause for the removal, suspension or demotion of the local government officer or employee or for other disciplinary action instituted by the officer or agency having the power of removal or discipline over the local government officer or employee.
[1972 Code § 4-15.11]
All statements, complaints, requests and other written materials filed with the Board of Ethics pursuant to this section, and all rulings, opinions, judgments, transcripts or other official papers prepared pursuant to this section, shall be preserved for at least five years and may be discarded following the fifth anniversary of January 1 next succeeding the submission filing for preparation of the document, as the case may be.