Township of Ewing, NJ
Mercer County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Ewing 11-24-1998 by Ord. No. 98-13 as Ch. 20 of the 1998 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Officers and employees — See Ch. 55.
Pay-to-play regulations — See Ch. 59.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Ewing Township Code of Ethics."
A. 
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 Ewing 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 interests which might arise in the conduct of their public duties.
B. 
It is the further purpose of this chapter to implement the provisions of the Local Government Ethics Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.1 et seq., and of the Faulkner Act, N.J.S.A. 40:69A-163 et seq.
C. 
This chapter is enacted under the authority of the Local Government Ethics Law and under the further authority granted under the provisions of Title 40 and 40A of the New Jersey Statutes.
A. 
Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AGENCY
Any agency, board, governing body, including the chief executive officer, office, commission or other instrumentality within the Township of Ewing, and any independent local authority created by or appointed under the authority of the Township of Ewing 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.
EMPLOYEE
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.
INTEREST
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 nonprofit entity or labor union.
MEMBER OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY
The spouse or dependent child of an officer or employee residing in the same household.
OFFICER
Any person, whether compensated or not, whether part-time or full-time, who is one of the following:
[Amended 4-9-2002 by Ord. No. 02-12]
(1) 
Mayor.
(2) 
Member of the Township Council.
(3) 
Business Administrator.
(4) 
Affirmative Action Officer.
(5) 
Public Information Officer.
(6) 
Municipal Clerk.
(7) 
Deputy Municipal Clerk.
(8) 
Chief of Police.
(9) 
Township Attorney.
(10) 
Construction Official.
(11) 
Director of Finance.
(12) 
Treasurer.
(13) 
Assistant Treasurer.
(14) 
Tax Assessor.
(15) 
Tax Collector.
(16) 
Township Engineer.
(17) 
Township Planning Consultant.
(18) 
Township Auditor.
(19) 
Municipal Judge.
(20) 
Township Prosecutor.
(21) 
Township Public Defender.
(22) 
Planning Board member.
(23) 
Planning Board Attorney.
(24) 
Zoning Board of Adjustment member.
(25) 
Zoning Board of Adjustment Attorney.
(26) 
Local Assistance Board member.
(27) 
Director of Public Assistance.
(28) 
Zoning Officer.
(29) 
Assistant Zoning Officer.
(30) 
Board of Fire Commissioners member.
(31) 
Fire Chief.
(32) 
Board of Fire Commissioners Attorney.
(33) 
Municipal Court Administrator.
(34) 
Street Superintendent.
(35) 
Health Official.
(36) 
Superintendent of Recreation Programs.
(37) 
Sanitation Superintendent.
(38) 
Senior Citizen Supervisor.
(39) 
Welfare Director.
(40) 
Any other person who is a managerial executive or confidential employee, as defined in Section 3 of the New Jersey Employer - Employee Relations Act, N.J.S.A. 34:13A-3, of the Township of Ewing or of any agency created under the authority of or appointed by the Township of Ewing.
OFFICER or EMPLOYEE
An officer or employee of the Township of Ewing or of an agency under the authority of or appointed by the Township of Ewing.
B. 
Word usage. "He" and other references to the male gender also refer to and include "she" and corresponding references to the female gender.
Officers and employees of the Township of Ewing shall comply with the following provisions:
A. 
No officer or employee of the Township of Ewing or member of his 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 duties in the public interest.
B. 
No officer or employee shall use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others.
C. 
No officer or employee shall act in his official capacity in any matter where he, a member of his 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 objectivity or independence or judgment.
D. 
No officer or employee shall undertake any employment or service, whether compensated or not, which might reasonably be expected to prejudice his independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties.
E. 
No officer or employee, member of his 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 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 official duties.
F. 
No officer or employee shall use, or allow to be used, his 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 office or employment, for the purpose of securing financial gain for himself, any member of his immediate family or any business organization with which he or she is associated.
G. 
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 Ewing. 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.
H. 
No officer shall be deemed in conflict with these provisions if, by reason of his 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 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.
I. 
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 immediate family, whether directly or indirectly, in return therefor.
J. 
Nothing shall prohibit any officer or employee of the Township, or members of his immediate family, from representing himself or themselves in negotiations or proceedings concerning his or their own interests.
K. 
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.
L. 
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.
M. 
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, materials, 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.
A. 
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 officer's job title:
(1) 
Each source of income, earned or unearned, exceeding $2,000 received by the officer or a member of his immediate family during the preceding calendar year. Individual client fees, customer receipts or commissions on transaction 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;
(2) 
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;
(3) 
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;
(4) 
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
(5) 
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.
B. 
The Ewing Township Ethical Standards Board shall require the financial disclosure statement form which has been promulgated by the New Jersey Local Finance Board, in accordance with the New Jersey Local Government Ethics Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.1 et seq.). The Municipal Clerk shall make the forms available to the officers and employees required to file a financial disclosure statement.
C. 
All statements shall be filed with the Municipal Clerk on or before April 30 of each year. A copy of the statement shall be filed with the Ewing Township Ethical Standards Board.
D. 
All financial disclosure statements filed shall be public records.
A. 
An Ethical Standards Board may be formed at the discretion of the Mayor. The Ethical Standards Board shall consist 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 Mayor with the advice and consent of the Township Council. 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.
[Amended 9-8-2015 by Ord. No. 15-29]
B. 
The members of the Ewing Township Ethical Standards 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 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 but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties under this chapter.
E. 
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.
F. 
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:
(1) 
Right to counsel.
(2) 
Right to pre-hearing discovery.
(3) 
Right to take sworn oral and written testimony for any person.
(4) 
Reasonable notice of hearing.
(5) 
Right to subpoena persons and documents.
(6) 
Right to make stenographic record of the hearing.
(7) 
Right of examination and cross examination.
A. 
The Township Council shall provide the Ewing Township Ethical Standards 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.
B. 
All necessary expenses incurred by the Ewing Township Ethical Standards Board and its members shall be paid, upon certification of the Chairperson of the Board, by the Township Treasurer within the limits of funds appropriated in the annual budget or by emergency appropriations for those purposes.
C. 
The Ewing Township Ethical Standards Board may request and receive assistance from Township officers and employees, including the Municipal Clerk and the Township Attorney, 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 Township Council for those purposes in the annual budget.
On May 16, 1991, pursuant to law, the Ewing Township Ethical Standards Board adopted a Code of Ethics, which remains in effect and which has been incorporated into the Township's Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Manual is on file in the office of the Municipal Clerk.
The Ewing Township Ethical Standards Board shall have the following powers:
A. 
To initiate, receive, hear and review complaints and hold hearings with regard to possible violations of the Municipal 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 with respect to its investigation of any complaint or to the holding 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 with regard to officers or employees serving the Township and to impose penalties for the violation thereof as are authorized by this chapter.
F. 
To adopt rules and regulations and to do other things as are necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter.
A. 
Any officer or employee of the Township of Ewing may request and obtain from the Ewing Township Ethical Standards 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.
B. 
Advisory opinions shall not be made public, except when the Board, by the vote of 2/3 of all of its members, directs that the opinion be made public.
C. 
Public advisory opinions shall not disclose the name of the officer or employee unless the Board, in directing that the opinion be made public, so determines.
A. 
The Ewing Township Ethical Standards Board, upon receipt of a signed written complaint by any person alleging that the conduct of any officer or employee of the Township of Ewing serving 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 circumstances set forth in the complaint.
B. 
The Board shall make a determination as to whether the complaint is within its jurisdiction or frivolous or without any reasonable factual basis.
C. 
If the Board shall conclude that the complaint is outside its jurisdiction, 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 of Ewing against whom the complaint was filed.
D. 
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 officer or employee of the Township of Ewing against whom the complaint was filed of the nature of the complaint and the facts and circumstances set forth therein.
E. 
The officer or employee shall have the opportunity to present the Board with any statement or information concerning the complaint which he or she wishes.
F. 
If the Board determines that a reasonable doubt exists as to whether the officer or employee of the Township of Ewing is in conflict with the Municipal Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirements, the Board shall conduct a hearing concerning the possible violation and any other facts and circumstances which may have come to the attention of the Board with respect to the conduct of the officer or employee.
G. 
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. This decision shall be made by no less than 2/3 of all members of the Board.
H. 
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 penalties which it believes appropriate within the limits of this chapter.
A. 
An appointed officer or employee of the Township of Ewing found guilty by the Ewing Township Ethical Standards 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. The Ewing Township Ethical Standards Board shall report its findings to the office or agency having the power of removal or discipline of the appointed officer or employee and may recommend that further disciplinary action be taken.
B. 
An elected officer or employee of the Township of Ewing found guilty by the Ewing Township Ethical Standard Board of the violation of any provision of 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).
C. 
The finding by the Ewing Township Ethical Standards Board that an appointed officer or employee of the Township of Ewing is guilty of the violation of the provisions of this chapter, or of any Code of Ethics in effect pursuant to this chapter, shall be sufficient cause for his removal, suspension, demotion or other disciplinary action by the officer or agency having the power of removal or discipline. When a person who is in the career service 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 any applicable procedures of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes 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 this chapter shall be preserved for a period of five years from the date of filing or preparation, as the case may be.