[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Secaucus 9-27-88 by Ord. No. 88-39. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The New Jersey Legislature has set forth its findings and declarations as follows:
In our representative form of government, it is essential that the conduct of public officials and employees shall hold the respect and confidence of the people. Public officials must, therefore, avoid conduct which is in violation of their public trust or which creates a justifiable impression among the public that such trust is being violated.
To ensure propriety and preserve public confidence, persons serving in government should have the benefit of specific standards to guide their conduct and of some disciplinary mechanism to ensure the uniform maintenance of those standards amongst them. Some standards of this type may be enacted as general statutory prohibitions or requirements; others, because of the complexity and variety of circumstances, are best left to the governance of codes of ethics formulated to meet the specific needs and conditions of the several agencies of government.
It is also recognized that under a free government it is both necessary and desirable that all citizens, public officials included, should have certain specific interests in the decisions of government, and that the activities and conduct of public officials should not, therefore, be unduly circumscribed. (State of N.J. Conflict of Interest Law, N.J.S.A. 52:13D-12)
The Mayor and Council of the Town of Secaucus believe that such legislative intent as set forth herein (State of New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law) shall also be applicable to the elected officials and municipal employees of the Town of Secaucus.
As used in this chapter, and unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the following terms shall have the following meaning:
- MUNICIPAL OFFICER/EMPLOYEE
- Any person appointed at any time by the Governing Body of the Town of Secaucus; any person working for the Town of Secaucus, whether paid or not, whether full-time or part-time.
- ELECTED MUNICIPAL OFFICIAL
- Any person elected to hold municipal office in the Town of Secaucus.
- Any natural person, association or corporation.
- The ownership or control of more than 10% of the profits or assets of a firm, association, or partnership, or more than 10% of the stock in a corporation for profit other than a professional service corporation organized under the "Professional Service Corporation Act," P.L. 1969, C. 232 (C. 14A:17-1 et seq.).
- MEMBER OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY
- Any person's spouse, child, parent, sibling or person residing in the same household.
No municipal employee or elected official shall accept from any person, whether directly or indirectly and whether by himself or through his spouse or any member of the immediate family or household or through any partner or associate, any gift, favor, service, employment or offer of employment or any other thing of value which he knows or has reason to believe is offered to him with intent to influence him in the performance of his public duties and responsibilities. This section shall not apply to the acceptance of contributions to the campaign or an announced candidate for elective public office.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official shall represent, appear for, or negotiate on behalf of, or agree to represent, appear for, or negotiate on behalf of, whether by himself or by or through any partnership, firm or corporation in which he has an interest or by any partner, officer or employee of any such partnership, firm or corporation, any person or party other than the Town in any negotiations for the acquisition or sale by the town or a town agency of any interest in real or tangible or intangible personal property, or in any proceedings relative to such acquisition or sale before a condemnation commission or court, provided, however, nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to prohibit any person from representing himself in negotiations or proceedings concerning his own interest in real property.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official, subsequent to the termination of his office or employment in the Town of Secaucus, shall represent, appear for, negotiate on behalf of, or provide information not generally available to members of the public or service to, or agree to represent, appear for, negotiate on behalf of, or provide information not generally available to members of the public or service to, whether by himself or through any partnership, firm or corporation in which he has an interest or through any partner, office or employee thereof, any person or party other than the town in connection with any cause, proceeding, application or other matter with respect to which such municipal employee or elected municipal official shall have made any investigation, rendered any ruling, given any opinion, or been otherwise substantially and directly involved at any time during the course of his office or employment.
No member of the Mayor and Council shall participate by voting or any other action in the enactment or defeat of legislation in which he has a personal interest unless and until he files with the Secaucus Town Clerk a statement which shall become a part of the official record, or at the time of voting makes a full statement (which shall be entered verbatim on the record), stating in substance that he has a personal interest in the legislation or adoption of a resolution or any ordinance and that, notwithstanding such interest, he is able to cast a fair and objective vote and otherwise participate in connection with such matter.
A member of the Governing Body shall be deemed to have a personal interest in any legislation within the meaning of this section if, by reason of his participation in the enactment or defeat of any legislation, he has reason to believe that he will derive a direct monetary gain or suffer a direct monetary loss. No member of the Governing Body shall be deemed to have a personal interest in any legislation within the meaning of this section if, by reason of his participation in the enactment or defeat of any legislation, no benefit or detriment could reasonably be expected to accrue to him, as a member of a business, profession, occupation or group, to any greater extent than any such benefit or detriment could reasonably be expected to accrue to any other member of such business, profession, occupation or group.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official shall knowingly himself, or by his partners or through any corporation which he controls or in which he owns or controls more than 1% of the stock, or by any other person for his use or benefit or on his account, undertake or execute, in whole or in part, any contract, agreement, sale or purchase of the value of $25 or more, made, entered into, awarded or granted by the Town of Secaucus, except as provided in subsection B of this section. No municipal employee or elected municipal official having any duties or responsibilities in connection with the purchase or acquisition of property or services by the Town of Secaucus where he is employed or any officer shall knowingly himself, by his partners or through any corporation which he controls or in which he owns or controls more than 1% of the stock, or by any other person for his use or benefit or on his account, undertake or execute, in whole or in part, any contract, agreement, sale or purchase of the value of $25 or more, made, entered into, awarded or granted by the Town of Secaucus, except as provided in Subsection B of this section.
The provisions of Subsection A of this section shall not apply to purchases, contracts, agreements or sale which: (1) are made or let after public notice and competitive bidding; or which (2) pursuant to section 5 of Chapter 48 of the laws of 1944 (C. 52:34-10) or such other similar provisions contained in the public bidding laws or regulations applicable to public agencies, may be made, negotiated or awarded without public advertising or bids.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official shall act as officer or agent for the Town of Secaucus for the transaction of any business with himself or with a corporation, company, association or firm in the pecuniary profits of which he has an interest (except that ownership or control of 10% or less of the stock of a corporation shall not be deemed an interest within the meaning of this section).
No municipal employee or elected municipal official should have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity, which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official should engage in any particular business, profession, trade or occupation which is subject to licensing or regulations (by a specific department or office) of the town without promptly filing notice of such activity with the Mayor and Council.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official should use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official should act in his official capacity in any matter wherein he has a direct or indirect personal financial interest that might reasonably be expected to impair his objectivity or independence of judgment.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official should undertake any employment or service, whether compensated or not, which might reasonably be expected to impair his objectivity and independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official should accept any gift, favor, service or other thing of value under circumstances from which it might be reasonably inferred that such gift, service or other thing of value was given or offered for the purpose of influencing him in the discharge of his official duties.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official should knowingly act in any way that might reasonably be expected to create an impression or suspicion among the public having knowledge of his acts that he may be engaged in conduct violative of his trust as a town official or employee or special town official or employee.
The within rules of conduct should recognize that under our democratic form of government public officials and employees should be drawn from all of our society, that citizens who serve in government cannot and should not be expected to be without any personal interest in the decisions and policies of government; that citizens who are government officials and employees have a right to private interest of a personal, financial and economic nature; that standards of conduct should separate those conflicts of interest which are unavoidable in a free society from those conflicts of interest which are substantial and material, or which bring government into disrepute.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official shall solicit, receive or agree to receive, whether directly or indirectly, any compensation, reward, employment, gift or other thing of value from any source other than the Town of Secaucus, for any service, advice, assistance or other matter related to his official duties, except reasonable fees for speeches or published works on matters within his official duties and except, in connection therewith, reimbursement of actual expenditures for travel and reasonable subsistence for which no payment or reimbursement is made by the Town of Secaucus. This section shall not apply to the solicitation or acceptance of contributions to the campaign of an announced candidate for elective public office.
No municipal employee or elected municipal official shall willfully disclose to any person, whether or not for pecuniary gain, any information not generally available to members of the public which he receives or acquires in the course of and by reason of his official duties.
Any violation by an employee or appointed official of any provision hereof shall be cause for the Mayor and Council of the Town of Secaucus to suspend, demote, or dismiss such official or employee, provided such official or employee has had an opportunity to be heard before the Mayor and Council.
The Town of Secaucus shall have the power, where a violation hereof is threatened or has occurred, to bring a civil action or proceedings at law or in equity for a judgment enjoining any violation of the provision of this chapter or requiring the relinquishment of any prohibited interest or any such contract or transaction, taking into account the interests of the town.
Where a contract or transaction which was the subject of an official act or action of the Town of Secaucus is tainted by a violation of any provision hereof, or by the existence of any interest prohibited by this chapter, the Mayor and Council shall issue an order to show cause before such Governing Body why such contract or transaction should not be declared void, and notice of a designated hearing date before the Mayor and Council, which date shall be no less than 10 days from the date of service upon all parties to such contract or transaction. The Mayor and Council, after such hearing, shall determine whether or not to void such contract or transaction entered into in violation of this chapter, based upon what is in the best interests of the Town of Secaucus; notwithstanding the action of the Mayor and Council, an action or proceeding may be brought against any municipal employee or municipal official for violation of the provisions of this chapter.
This chapter is intended to supplement any other state or federal laws that may be applicable, and nothing herein contained shall preclude any other sanctions including criminal sanctions that might be applicable at the federal, state, or county levels.
[Added 8-13-91 by Ord. No. 91-21]
This chapter is intended to supplement any other state or federal laws that may be applicable, including but not limited to the New Jersey Local Government Ethics Law (N.J.S.A.. 40A:9-22.1, et seq.), and amendments thereto.
[Added 12-10-91 by Ord. No. 91-43]
Notwithstanding any provision of the New Jersey Local Government Ethics Law or any other provision of this chapter, the Town Attorney shall, annually, not later than March 1st of each year, provide a listing to the Town Clerk of the names or positions of all persons, including elected officials of the Town, employees of the Town, Board members, Authority members and other persons that he believes are required to file a financial disclosure form, with respect to the preceding year, in accordance with the aforesaid law.
If, after 30 days, a person has not filed the requisite financial disclosure form with the Town Clerk, as required, the Town Clerk shall notify the Local Finance Board of the Division of Local Government Services, Department of Community Affairs, of such failure to file in accordance with the opinion of the Town Attorney.
The failure of the Town Attorney to include the name of any person or a position required to file a financial disclosure form, or the failure of the Town Clerk to notify such person or persons holding a position required to file a financial disclosure form, shall not relieve any person from complying with the Financial Disclosure Form requirement of the state law.