[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Lumberton 6-17-1991 as part of Ord. No. 1991-5. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Lumberton Township Code of Ethics."
The governing body of this Township 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 interests and the public duties of a public 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 Lumberton shall be clear, consistent, uniform in their application and enforceable and to provide those officers and employees with advice and information concerning possible conflicts of interests which arise in the conduct of their public duties.
This chapter is enacted under the authority of the Local Government Ethics Law and under the further authority granted to the Township under the provisions of Titles 40 and 40A of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated, or any amendments or supplements thereto.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Local Government Ethics Law (P.L. 1991, c. 29), or any amendments or supplements thereto.
- Any agency, board, governing body, including the chief executive officer, office, commission or other instrumentality within the Township, and any independent local authority created by or appointed under the authority of the Township, 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:
- A. Member of the Township Committee.
- B. Township Clerk/Administrator.
- C. Deputy Township Clerk.
- D. Chief Financial Officer.
- E. Tax Assessor.
- F. Tax Collector.
- G. Director of Public Works.[Amended 4-5-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-11]
- H. Chief of Police.
- I. Lieutenant of Police.
- J. Construction Code Official.
- K. Zoning Officer.
- L. Township Solicitor.
- M. Township Engineer.
- N. Township Planning Consultant.
- O. Township Auditor.
- P. Municipal Judge.
- Q. Municipal Court Clerk.
- R. Township Prosecutor.
- S. Township Public Defender.
- T. Member of Township Land Development Board.[Amended 1-20-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-1]
- U. Land Development Board Solicitor.[Amended 1-20-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-1]
- V. Director of Public Assistance.
- W. (Reserved)
- X. Any other person who is a managerial executive or confidential employee, as defined in the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act (N.J.S.A. 34:13A-3 or any amendments or supplements thereto), of this Township or of any agency created under the authority of or appointed by this Township.
- OFFICER or EMPLOYEE
- An officer or employee of the Township of Lumberton or of an agency under the authority of or appointed by this Township.
- The Township of Lumberton, in the County of Burlington and State of New Jersey.
Officers and employees of the Township shall comply with the following provisions:
No officer or employee of the Township or member of his/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/her duties in the public interest.
No officer or employee shall use or attempt to use his/her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself/herself or others.
No officer or employee shall act in his/her official capacity in any matter where he/she, a member of his/her immediate family or any business organization in which he/she has an interest has a direct or indirect financial or personal involvement that might reasonably be expected to impair his/her objectivity or independence of judgment.
No officer or employee shall undertake any employment or service, whether compensated or not, which might reasonably be expected to prejudice his/her independence of judgment in the exercise of his/her official duties.
No officer or employee, member of his/her immediate family or any business organization in which he/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/her, directly or indirectly, in the discharge of his/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/her official duties.
No officer or employee shall use or allow to be used his/her public office or employment or any information not generally available to the members of the public which he/she receives or acquires in the course of and by reason of his/her office or employment for the purpose of securing financial gain for himself/herself, any member of his/her immediate family or any business organization with which he/she is associated.
No officer or employee of any business organization in which he/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. 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 responsibility, nor shall this provision be applicable to the Township's 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/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/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.
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/her immediate family, whether directly or indirectly, in return therefor.
Nothing shall prohibit any officer or employee of the Township or members of his/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 this 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/she 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/herself or any other person. This prohibition shall not be deemed to prohibit an officer 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 is provided as a matter of state or public policy for the use of officials and employees in the conduct of Township 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 member of his/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 officer or member of his/her immediate family has an interest in the business organization.
Each source of fees from honoraria having an aggregate amount exceeding $250 from any single source for personal appearances, speeches or writings received by the officer or a member of his/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 officer or a member of his/her immediate family during the preceding calendar year.
The name and address of all business organizations in which the officer or a member of his/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 officer or a member of his/her immediate family held an interest during the preceding calendar year.
Financial disclosure statements shall be filed in the manner and time frame established by state law and rules promulgated to implement these state laws.
[Amended 8-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-7-011]
All financial disclosure statements filed in compliance with this chapter and general law shall be public records.
By accepting employment with the Township of Lumberton, all employees who are required under this section and under the statute giving rise to this section, to file these financial disclosure statements understand and agree that the filing of said forms is a continuing condition to their employment. Although they may be hired before the forms are filed, they must comply in order to maintain their employment. Any employee who fails to meet the filing requirements of this section shall be deemed to have violated the provisions of this section, and shall be given one month to cure said violation; if the violation is not cured within that time frame, the violation shall constitute cause for that employee's forfeiture of his or her employment and consequent removal from employment. Filing of the form following notice of forfeiture shall not be a defense to dismissal.
[Added 8-16-1999 by Ord. No. 1999-13; amended 8-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-7-011]
Any official or officer appointed to any board, body, agency or other appointment (professional or otherwise) who is required by the terms of this section to file a financial disclosure statement understands and agrees that his or her appointment to said board, body, commission or employment is conditioned upon his or her continued compliance with the requirements of this section. Failure to file the financial disclosure statements within the time set forth above, or within the one month grace period following said time frame, shall constitute cause for that appointee's forfeiture of his/her position and consequent removal of said individual from his or her employment/appointment. Filing of the forms following notice of forfeiture shall not be a defense to removal.
[Added 8-16-1999 by Ord. No. 1999-13]
[Amended 8-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-7-011]
In 2015 the Township Committee eliminated the Local Ethics Board and transferred those powers back to the State Ethics Board. Any documents pertaining to local board, which may have existed in 2015 and which are not protected by any other document destruction schedule, shall be destroyed pursuant to proper destruction guidelines no sooner than September 30, 2020.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former § 14-7, Ethical Standards Board.
[Added 8-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-7-011]
Purpose. It is the purpose of this standard to ensure that the employees of Lumberton Township are focused primarily on the Township rather than splitting their commitments between Lumberton and another political/government office.
Scope. This standard applies to all employees considering, as well as to those employees who are already serving in a full-time, part-time or per diem secondary or outside employment positions in Lumberton Township.
Definitions. As used in this section, the following words have the following meanings:
- CONFLICT OF INTEREST
- Occurs when an employee is in a position to influence a Township decision that may result in personal gain for the employee or an immediate relative including a spouse or significant other, child, parent, stepchild, sibling, grandparents, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, grandchildren, niece, nephew, uncle, aunt, or any other person residing in the employee's household. Individuals seeking secondary or outside employment must comply with the Code of Ethics set forth herein.
- ELECTED OFFICE
- The appointment or election to a governing body in other municipality, county freeholder or line officer, a member of the New Jersey Legislature, a gubernatorial or federally elected position.
- REGULAR EMPLOYEES
- Any full-time or part-time employees of the Township.
Employment with the Township of Lumberton must take precedence over an employee's want or desire to hold political office in another municipality. At all times, exempt and regular employees must act in the best interests of the Township and must avoid conduct and relationships that could cause, or appear to cause, a conflict of interest with their roles in the Township. Employees must keep in mind that their primary responsibility is to the Township.
Employees, who engage in outside employment, are prohibited from the following political activities as they relate to said employment:
If the employee's performance is negatively impacted by actions to seek elected office, he or she shall be ordered to stop the interfering political activity or to resign. If the employee fails to adhere to the order, the Township shall commence disciplinary action to remove the employee.
Employees shall not engage in any political activity that creates a conflict of interest with their Township employment or that creates a reasonably justifiable impression that such a conflict of interest may exist.
Political office while on leave. No employee of the Township of Lumberton will be permitted to hold or seek political office while on any leave, including, but not limited to, Family Medical Leave Act, New Jersey Family Leave Act, disability leave, worker's compensation leave, sick leave, or approved unpaid leave of absence.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former §§ 14-8, Facilities and staff; 14-9, Adoption of Code; 14-10, Powers of Ethical Standards Board; 14-11, Advisory opinions; 14-12, Complaint procedure; and 14-13, Violations and penalties (penalties exist and are enforceable through state law).