[HISTORY: Derived from Sec. 13-3 of the 2002 Revised General Ordinances, adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Clark 12-16-2002 by Ord. No. 02-27. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The proper operation of democratic government requires that:
Public officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people.
Government decisions and policy be made in the proper channels of the government structures.
Public office not be used for personal gain.
The public have confidence in the integrity of its government.
In recognition of these goals, there is hereby established a Code of Ethics for all officials and employees, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish ethical standards of conduct for all such officials and employees by setting forth those acts or actions that are incompatible with the best interests of the Township and by directing disclosure by such officials and employees of private financial or other matters affecting the Township. The provisions and purpose of this chapter and such rules and regulations as may be established are hereby declared to be in the best interests of the Township.
Public officials and employees are agents of public purpose and hold office for the benefit of the public. They are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this state and to carry out impartially the laws of the nation, state and municipality and thus to foster respect for all government. They are bound to observe in their official and personal acts the highest standards of morality and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office, regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that the public interest must be their primary concern.
Public officials and employees, whether appointed or elected full time or part time, paid or unpaid, should conduct their official duties with integrity, impartially and in public interest. They also should conduct both their official and private affairs so as not to give a reasonable basis for the impression that any such official or employee can be improperly influenced in the performance of his/her official duties. Such official or employee should so conduct himself/herself as to maintain public confidence in his/her performance or his/her public trust and in the government he/she represents. The official or employee should not be a source of embarrassment to that government and should avoid even the appearance of conflict between his/her public duties and private interests.
Appointive officials and employees should adhere to the rules of work and performance established as the standard for their positions by the appropriate authority.
Officials and employees should not exceed their authority or breach the law or ask others to do so, and they should work in full cooperation with other public officials and employees unless prohibited from so doing by law or by officially recognized confidentiality of their work.
No person shall be appointed to or removed from or in any way favored or discriminated against with respect to any appointive administrative office because of his/her race, religion, sex or national origin, if otherwise qualified for the position or office. However, this provision does not impair administrative discretion in determining the requirements of a position or in a job assignment of a person holding such position.
No official or employee shall use Township-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property, except in the line of duty or when such service is available to the general public.
No official or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
Incompatible personal interest. No member of Council or other official or employee, whether paid or unpaid, shall engage in any business or transaction, or have a financial or other personal interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of his/her official duties in the public interest or would tend to impair his/her independence or judgment or action in the performance of his/her duties.
Future employment. No former official or employee shall appear at any time before the agency in which he/she was formerly employed in connection with any case or other matter with which he/she was directly connected while an official or employee at any time within a period of one year after termination of his/her service with the Township. Such official or employee may be released from this obligation after review of the relevant facts of his/her case by the Council at a public meeting on the application of such official or employee and duly noted at the meeting.
Service for private interests. No member of Council or other official or employee shall engage in services for private interests where such service is directly connected with the Township.
Disclosure of confidential information. No member of Council or other official or employee shall disclose, without proper legal authorization, confidential information concerning the property, government or affairs of the Township, nor shall he/she use such information to advance the financial or other private interests of himself/herself or others.
Gifts and favors. No member of Council or other official or employee shall accept any valuable gift, whether in the form of service, loan, thing or promise, from any person which, to his/her knowledge, is interested, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the Township, nor shall any such official or employee:
Representing private interests before Township agencies or courts. No member of Council or other official or employee, whether paid or unpaid by the Township, shall appear on behalf of any private interest before any agency of the Township in which he/she is directly concerned. The member of Council or other official or employee shall not represent private interests in any action or proceedings against the interest of the Township in any litigation to which the Township is a party.
Contracts with the Township. No member of Council or other official or employee who has a substantial or controlling financial interest in any business entity, transaction or contract with the Township, or in the sale of real estate, materials, supplies or services to the Township, shall make known to the proper authority such interest in any matter on which he/she may be called to act in his/her official capacity. The member of Council or other official or employee shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in the transaction or the making of such contract or sale. A member of Council or other official or employee shall not be deemed to have an interest in any contract, purchase or sale of land or other thing of value unless such contract or sale is approved, awarded, entered into or authorized by him/her in his/her official capacity, and due public notice is given at a public meeting regarding the official's private interest.
Disclosure of interest in legislation. A member of Council who has a financial or other private interest in any legislation shall disclose on the records of the Council or other appropriate authority the nature and extent of such interest. This provision shall not apply if the member of Council disqualifies himself/herself from voting.
Disclosure of financial or private interest. Any other official or employee who has a financial or other private interest, and who participates in discussion with or gives an official opinion to the Council, shall disclose on the records of the Council or other appropriate authority the nature and extent of such interest which may affect the Township.
No employee in the classified service of the Township shall orally, by letter or otherwise solicit or be in any manner concerned with soliciting any assessment, subscription or contribution to any political party, nor shall he/she be a party to such solicitations by others, except as permitted by civil service.
When a member of Council or other official or employee has doubt as to the applicability of a provision of this chapter to a particular situation, he/she should apply to the Township Attorney for an advisory opinion and be guided by that opinion when given. The member of Council or other official or employee shall have the opportunity to present his/her interpretation of the facts at issue and of the applicable provisions of this chapter before such advisory decision is made. This chapter shall be operating in all instances covered by its provisions, except when superseded by an applicable statutory or charter provision, and statutory or charter action is mandatory.
Violations of any provisions of this chapter may constitute a cause for censorship, suspension, removal from office or employment or other disciplinary action pursuant to statutes of the State of New Jersey.