Township of Middle, NJ
Cape May County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Middle 2-1-1999 as Ord. No. 1032-99. Amendments noted where applicable.]
There is hereby established a Municipal Ethics Board within the Township of Middle, in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S. 40A:9-22.19.
The Municipal Ethics Board shall consist of six members who are residents of the municipality. Two of the members shall be public members. The members of the Municipal Ethics Board shall be appointed by the Township Committee of the Township of Middle.
A. 
The members of the Municipal Ethics Board shall be chosen by virtue of their known and consistent reputation for integrity and their knowledge of local government affairs.
B. 
No more than three members of the Municipal Ethics Board shall be of the same political party.
The members of the Municipal Ethics Board shall annually elect a Chairman among the membership.
A. 
The initial members of the Municipal Ethics Board shall have terms as follows:
(1) 
Two of the public members shall be appointed to serve for a term of five years.
(2) 
One member shall be appointed to serve for a term of four years.
(3) 
The remaining three members shall serve for a term of three years. Thereafter, each member of the Municipal Ethics Board shall serve a term of five years.
B. 
Each member of the Municipal Ethics Board shall serve until his successor has been appointed and qualified.
Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the Municipal Ethics Board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired term.
Members of the Municipal Ethics Board shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed by the municipality for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties under this Act.
The Township Committee shall provide the Municipal Ethics Board with offices for the conduct of its business and the preservation of its records, and shall supply equipment and supplies as may be necessary.
All necessary expenses incurred by the Municipal Ethics Board and its members shall be paid, upon certification of the Chairman, by the Chief Financial Officer within the limits of funds appropriated by the Township Committee by annual or emergency appropriations for those purposes.
The Municipal Ethics Board may appoint employees, including independent Counsel, and clerical staff as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act within the limits of funds appropriated by the municipal governing body for those purposes.
A. 
Within 90 days from the effective date of this chapter, the Municipal Ethics Board shall promulgate by resolution a Municipal Code of Ethics for all local government officers and employees serving the municipality. The Code shall be promulgated in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S. 40A:9-22.5.
B. 
Within 15 days following the promulgation thereof, the Municipal Code of Ethics, and a notice of the date of public hearing to be held thereon shall be published in the legal newspaper of the Township of Middle and shall be distributed to the Municipal Clerk and to the heads of the local government agencies serving the municipality for circulation among the local government officers and employees serving the municipality.
C. 
The Municipal Ethics Board shall hold a public hearing on the Municipal Code of Ethics not less than 30 days following its promulgation at which any local government officer or employee serving the municipality and any other person wishing to be heard shall be permitted to testify. As a result of the hearing the Municipal Ethics Board may amend or supplement the Municipal Code of Ethics as it deems necessary.
The Municipal Ethics Board shall have all the powers afforded it pursuant to N.J.S. 40A:9-22.22.
A local government officer or employee serving the municipality may request and obtain from the Municipal Ethics Board an advisory opinion as to whether any proposed activity or conduct would in its opinion constitute a violation of the Municipal Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirements. Advisory opinions of the Municipal Ethics Board shall not be made public, except when the Municipal Ethics Board by the vote of 2/3 of all its members directs that the opinion be made public. Public advisory opinion shall not disclose the name of the local government officer or employee unless the Municipal Ethics Board in directing that opinion be made public so determines.
The Municipal Ethics Board, upon receipt of a signed written complaint by any person alleging that the conduct of any local government officer or employee serving the municipality is in conflict with the Municipal 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. The Ethics Board shall make a determination as to whether the complaint is within its jurisdiction or frivolous or without any reasonable factual basis. If the Ethics 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 local government officer or employee against whom the complaint was filed. Otherwise the Ethics Board shall notify the local government officer or employee against whom the complaint was filed of the nature of the complaint and the facts and circumstances set forth therein. The officer or employee shall have the opportunity to present the Ethics Board with any statement or information concerning the complaint which he wishes. Thereafter, if the Ethics Board determines that a reasonable doubt exists as to whether the local government officer or employee is in conflict with the Municipal Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirements, it shall conduct a hearing in the manner prescribed by Section 12 of this Act, concerning the possible violation and any other facts and circumstances which may have come to its attention with respect to the conduct of the local government officer or employee. The Ethics Board shall render a decision as to whether the conduct of the officer or employee is in conflict with the Municipal Code of Ethics or any financial disclosure requirements. This decision shall be made by no less than 2/3 of all members of the Ethics Board.
If the Ethics Board determines that the officer or employee is in conflict with the Code or any financial disclosure requirements, it may impose any penalties which it believes appropriate within the limitations of this Act. A final decision of the Ethics Board may be appealed to the Local Finance Board within 30 days of the decision.
All statements, complaints, requests or other written material, and any rulings, opinions, judgments, transcripts or other official papers prepared pursuant to this chapter shall be preserved for a period of at least five years from the date of filing or preparation, as the case may be.