[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners (now Council) of the Town (now Township) of Montclair 3-28-2000 by Ord. No. 00-08. Amendments noted where applicable.]
An ordinance banning the use of government buildings and government equipment for political fund-raising.
Whereas, political contributions have a profound impact on government decision making; and whereas, our laws in New Jersey do not presently ban solicitation or acceptance of contribution by public office holders and employees while on public property or by use of public facilities; and whereas, a conflict may arise between the business of political fund-raising and the business of government in town hall and other government-owned premises, and this may cause a distraction from the people's business; and whereas, the most appropriate method to prevent this conflict and to ensure the integrity of government decisions is the prohibition of political fund-raising on or by use of public property; therefore, it is accordingly found and determined that the paramount public interest in a clean and accountable government requires the prohibition of political fund-raising on public property or by use of public facilities.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any individual seeking election to a public office of the federal government, state, county, municipality school district or political organization at an election.
- Includes all loans and transfers of money or other thing of value to or by any candidate, elected official or political organization and all pledges or other commitments or assumptions of liability to make any such transfer. Contributions shall be deemed to have been made upon the date when such commitment is made or liability assumed.
- 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 in any agency, commission, board or office thereof, whether the position is full-time or part-time.
- This municipality and any officer, department, board, commission or agency thereof
- POLITICAL ORGANIZATION
- Any two or more persons acting jointly, or any corporation, partnership or any 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. Political organization includes, but is not limited to, organizations otherwise defined as "political committee," "joint candidates committee" and "legislative leadership committee."
- PROPERTY OF THE MUNICIPALITY
- Buildings, land, vehicles, phones, fax machines, computers or other office equipment or supplies and other real or personal property owned, leased or controlled by the municipality, except for public roads and open park land.
- To seek by oral or written communication a contribution as same is defined herein.
Prohibition against soliciting or accepting political contributions on public property. No municipal official, employee or appointee may solicit, commit to pay or receive payment of or a commitment to pay any contribution for any candidate, elected official or political organization while in or on the property of the municipality or utilizing the property of the municipality.
Prohibited forms of fund-raising. Prohibited forms of fund-raising shall include but are not limited to:
Soliciting or accepting contributions using municipal telephones, fax machines or computers.
Soliciting or accepting contributions using personal telephones while on the property of the municipality.
Soliciting or accepting contributions through the use of publicly owned computers or privately owned personal computers while on the property of the municipality.
Using municipal letterhead to solicit or accept contributions.
Sending correspondence from municipal buildings or by use of municipal services, equipment or postage.
Face-to-face soliciting of an individual or an owner or representative of a business entity while on the property of the municipality.
Use of automobiles owned or leased by the municipality to accept or solicit contributions.
Reporting requirements. It shall be the responsibility of any employee, appointed or elected official who observes any prohibited forms of fund-raising to report such conduct to the Municipal Ethics Board, if one exists, or in the alternative, to the Municipal Prosecutor and the Municipal Clerk who shall report same to the governing body.
Whistle-blower provision. It shall be unlawful for any employee, elected official or appointee to be dismissed, reprimanded, retaliated against or otherwise intimidated for complying with the reporting requirements mandated by this chapter.
[Amended 4-10-2007 by Ord. No. 07-17]
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding $2,000, imprisonment in the county/municipal jail for a term not exceeding 90 days, or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof as determined by the Municipal Court Judge. Each day on which a violation of an ordinance exists shall be considered a separate and distinct violation and shall be subject to imposition of a separate penalty for each day of the violation as the Municipal Court Judge may determine.