[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Borough Council of the Borough of Berlin 7-17-2000 by Ord. No. 2000:8. Amendments noted where applicable.]
An ordinance banning the use of government buildings and equipment for political fund-raising.
Whereas, our laws in New Jersey do not presently ban solicitation or acceptance of political contributions by public office holders and employees while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties; and whereas, solicitation and acceptance of political contributions in rooms and buildings occupied in the discharge of official municipal business undermines the efficiency of government by taking officials and employees away from the people's business and leads to the appearance of improper influence of political contributions on government functions; and whereas, prohibiting the solicitation and acceptance of political contributions in rooms and buildings occupied in the discharge of official duties will address these harms and leave open ample alternative venues for political fund-raising; and whereas, our laws in New Jersey do not presently recognize the misuse of public property for political fund-raising as a distinct offense; now, therefore, it is accordingly found and determined that the municipality's interests in an independent and efficient government workforce and a government that is undermined by neither the fact nor appearance of improper influence of political contributions on government decisions require the prohibition of political fund-raising in rooms or buildings occupied in the discharge of official duties or through the use of public property.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any individual seeking election to a public office of the federal, state, county, or municipal government, or school district or political party, and any individual who shall have been elected or failed election to any such office.
- MUNICIPAL OFFICIAL, EMPLOYEE AND APPOINTEE
- Any person holding elective municipal office or holding an appointed position in the municipal government or in any agency, commission, board or office thereof, whether the position is full-time or part-time, compensated or uncompensated, and any employee of municipal government or of any municipal agency, commission, board or office thereof, whether the position is full-time or part-time.
- The government of the municipality, including any officer, department, board, commission or agency, thereof.
- POLITICAL CONTRIBUTION
- Any loans and transfers of money or other things of value to any candidate, elected official or representative of any political organization or other commitments or assumptions of liability to make any such transfer. Political contributions shall be deemed to have been made upon the date when such commitment is made or liability assumed.
- POLITICAL ORGANIZATION
- Any two or more persons acting jointly or any corporation, partnership or other incorporated or unincorporated association which is organized to or does aid or promote the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate or candidates for federal, state, county, municipal or school board office or political party office. Political organization includes, but is not limited to, organizations defined in N.J.S.A. 19:44A-3 as a "political committee," "joint candidates committee," continuing political committee," "political party committee," "candidate committee" or "legislative leadership committee."
- PUBLIC PROPERTY
- All personal property owned, leased or controlled by the municipal government, including but not limited to vehicles, phones, fax machines, computers, stationery, including municipal letterhead, postage and other office equipment.
- To ask for, by oral or written communication, a contribution as that term is defined herein.
Prohibition against soliciting or accepting political contribution in rooms or buildings occupied in the discharge of public duties. No municipal official, employee or appointee may solicit, commit to pay or receive payment of or a commitment to pay any political contribution for any candidate, elected official or political organization while in' any room or building occupied in the discharge of official municipal business. This section shall include solicitation or acceptance of political contributions made over a private cell phone or by use of a private computer if the person soliciting or accepting the political contribution or using the cell phone or computer for purposes of soliciting or accepting the political contribution is in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official municipal business.
Prohibition against use of public property for political fund-raising. No municipal official, employee or appointee may solicit, commit to pay or receive payment of or a commitment to pay any political contribution for any candidate, elected official or political organization while utilizing public property.
Violation of any provision of this chapter shall be punished by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days or imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000.