[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Middle 8-1-1991 as Ord. No. 783-91. Amendments noted where applicable.]
There is hereby established in the Township of Middle standards of ethical conduct for the officers and employees of the Township of Middle.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Township of Middle Code of Ethics."
The Township Committee of the Township of Middle 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 interest 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 Middle shall be clear, consistent, uniform in their application and enforceable and to provide those officers or employees with advice and information concerning possible conflicts of interest 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, N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.1 et seq.
This chapter is enacted under the authority of the Local Government Ethics Law, P.L. 1991, c. 29, N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22 et seq., and under the further authority granted to the Township of Middle 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 Middle and any independent local authority created by or appointed under the authority of the Township of Middle 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 nonunion profit entity or labor union.
- MEMBER OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY
- The spouse or dependent child of an officer or employee residing in the same household.
- Any person, whether compensated or not, whether part-time or full-time, who is one of the following
- (1) Members of Township Committee.
- (2) Township Administrator.
- (3) Chief Financial Officer.
- (4) Construction Official.
- (5) Code Enforcement Official.
- (6) Deputy Director of Public Works.
- (7) Public Works Superintendent.
- (8) Recreation Program Administrator.
- (9) Chief of Police.
- (10) Police Captain.
- (11) Police Lieutenant.
- (12) Assessor.
- (13) Clerk.
- (14) Solicitor.
- (15) Engineer.
- (16) Planning Consultant.
- (17) Auditor.
- (18) Municipal Judge.
- (19) Municipal Court Administrator.
- (20) Prosecutor.
- (21) Public Defender.
- (22) Tax Collector.
- (23) Zoning Officer.
- (24) Supervisor of Sewer and Water.
- (25) Director of Public Assistance.
- (26) Board of Health member.
- (27) Planning Board member.
- (28) Zoning Board member.
- (29) Local Assistance Board member.
- (30) Water District member.
- (31) Fire Commissioner.
- (32) Shade Tree Commissioner.
- (33) Environmental Commissioner.
- (34) Historic Preservation Board member.
- OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- An officer or employee of the Township of Middle or of an agency under the authority of or appointed by the Township of Middle.
Officers and employees of the Township of Middle shall comply with the following provisions:
No officer or employee of the Township of Middle 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 or 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 immediate family or any business organization in which he or she has an interest, shall solicit or accept any gift, favor, 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 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 cause, proceeding, application or other matter pending before any agency of the Township of Middle. 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. These provisions shall not apply to the Township Public Defender, whose conduct is regulated by the Rules of Professional Conduct as mandated by the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey.
[Amended 9-19-1991 by Ord. No. 790-91]
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 Middle, 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 in 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 governmental affairs of the township.
No officer or employee elected or appointed in the township shall approve or disapprove or in any way recommend the payment of any bill, voucher or indebtedness owed or allegedly owed by the township in which he has a direct or indirect personal, pecuniary or private interest.
No officer or employee elected or appointed in 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.
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 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 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 local government 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 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 or her immediate family had an interest during the preceding calendar year.
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.
Officers of the township shall utilize a financial disclosure statement form promulgated by the New Jersey Local Finance Board, in accordance with the New Jersey Local Government Ethics Law. The Township Clerk shall make the forms available to the officers and employees required to file a financial disclosure statement.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.1 et seq.
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. A copy of the statement shall be filed with the Township of Middle Ethical Standards Board.
All financial disclosure statements filed shall be public records.
The Local Finance Board of the State of New Jersey shall have jurisdiction over the conduct of township officials and employees with regard to enforcement of this chapter pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.4 et seq.