[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Pleasantville 6-7-1982 by Ord. No. 11-1982 as Ch. 27 of the 1982 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Chosen either by an individual having authority to appoint to public office, position or employment or by the Council of the City of Pleasantville.
- The Pleasantville Ethics Board established by this chapter.
- Chosen by the general electorate of the City of Pleasantville or of a ward or other electoral subdivision thereof.
- FINANCIAL INTEREST
- Any employment, investment or other association or activity which yields or may yield to a public officer or employee, directly or indirectly, a monetary or other material benefit other than the duly authorized salary or compensation of his public office, position or employment, except that no financial interest within the meaning of this definition shall be created by an interest amounting to not more than 3% of the shares of a corporation or the right upon liquidation or dissolution to not more than 3% of the assets of an unincorporated business entity.
- OFFICIAL ACT OR ACTION
- Any legislative, administrative, quasi-judicial, appointive or discretionary act of the City of Pleasantville City Council or public officer or employee.
- PERSONAL INTEREST
- Any association or connection with other persons arising from blood or marriage relationships or from direct business relationship, which may reasonably be expected to influence a public officer or employee to favor the interests of such persons, whether or not any financial interest is involved.
- PUBLIC OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE
- Any person holding an office, position or employment in the City of Pleasantville, whether by election or appointment and whether or not any compensation is provided for such office, position or employment; and any person who is a member of any board, bureau, office, commission or other instrumentality within or created by the City of Pleasantville; and any independent authority, commission, agency or instrumentality of the City of Pleasantville.
Whenever applicable, all New Jersey statutes relating to bribery of public officers and employees, private interest in public contracts and misconduct in public office are hereby made a part of this Code of Ethics and shall apply to all public officers and public employees of the City of Pleasantville.
The requirements herein set forth shall constitute a Code of Ethics establishing reasonable standards and guidelines for the ethical conduct of all public officers and employees of the City of Pleasantville.
No public officer or employee of the City of Pleasantville shall accept from any person, directly or indirectly, by himself or through his spouse or any member of his family or through any partner or associate, any gift, favor, service, employment or offer of employment or any other thing of value which he knows or has reason to believe is offered to him with intent to influence him in the performance of his public duties and responsibilities.
No public officer or employee of the City of Pleasantville, either by himself or through any partnership, firm or corporation in which he has a financial interest or by any partner, officer or employee of any such partnership, firm or corporation, shall represent, appear for or negotiate on behalf of, or agree to represent, appear for or negotiate on behalf of, any person or party other than the City of Pleasantville or an agency or instrumentality thereof in any negotiation for the acquisition or sale by the city or any agency or instrumentality thereof of any interest in real or tangible or intangible personal property or in any proceedings relative to such acquisition or sale before a condemnation commission or court, provided that nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit any person from representing himself in negotiations or proceedings concerning his own interest in real property.
No public officer or employee of the City of Pleasantville nor any partnership, firm or corporation in which he has a financial interest, nor any partner, officer or employee of any such partnership, firm or corporation, shall represent, appear for or negotiate on behalf of any person or party other than such city or an agency or instrumentality thereof in connection with any cause, proceeding, application or other matter pending before the Council of the City of Pleasantville or of any autonomous or semiautonomous agency established by the City of Pleasantville or in which said city is a participant; provided, however, that this subsection shall not be deemed to prohibit any elected official 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 such elected official, whether directly or indirectly.
No former public officer or employee of the City of Pleasantville, nor any partnership, firm or corporation in which he has a financial interest, nor any partner, officer or employee of any such partnership, firm or corporation, may, during two years next following the last date on which he held such public office or employment, represent, appear for or negotiate on behalf of, or agree to represent, appear for or negotiate on behalf of, any person or party other than the city or City Council in connection with any cause, proceeding, application or other matter pending before said city or Council or any autonomous or semiautonomous agency established by said City of Pleasantville in which he personally participated during the period of his service or employment or which was under his active consideration.
Notwithstanding the provisions hereinabove set forth, a public officer or employee may appear on behalf of himself, his spouse or minor children before any city agency or Municipal Court. A member of Council may appear before city agencies on behalf of his constituents in the course of his duties as a representative of the electorate or in the performance of public or civic obligations.
Interest in contract or transaction. No public officer or employee having the power or duty to perform an official act or action related to a contract or transaction which is or may be the subject of an official act or action of the city shall:
Have or thereafter acquire an interest in such contract or transaction.
Have an interest in any business entity representing, advising or appearing on behalf of, whether paid or unpaid, any person involved in such contract or transaction.
Have solicited or accepted present or future employment with a person or business entity involved in such contract or transaction.
Have solicited, accepted or granted a present or future gift, favor, service or thing of value from or to a person involved in such contract or transaction.
Have encouraged, made or accepted any ex parte or unilateral application or communication where a determination is to be made after a public hearing and such public employee fails to make the contents of the communication a part of the record.
Preacquisition of interest. No public officer or employee, with respect to any contract or transaction which is or may be the subject of an official act or action of the city, shall acquire an interest in or be affected by such contract or transaction at a time when the public employee believes or has reason to believe that it will directly or indirectly be affected by an official act or action of the city.
Disclosure of information. No public officer or employee, with respect to any contract or transaction which is or may be the subject of an official act or action of the city, shall, without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential information concerning the property, government or affairs of the city or use such information to advance the financial or other private interest of himself or others.
Incompatible service. No public officer or employee shall engage in or accept private employment or render service for private interest when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of his official duties or would tend to impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties, unless otherwise permitted by law and unless disclosure is made as provided in this Code.
Public contracts. No public officer or employee of the City of Pleasantville shall knowingly have a financial interest with respect to any contract, agreement, sale or purchase made, entered into, awarded or granted by such city or City Council thereof during the time while he holds such position, whether or not such contract, agreement, purchase or sale was made or let after public notice and competitive bidding.
Public property. No public officer or employee shall request or permit the unauthorized use of city-owned vehicles, equipment, materials or property for personal convenience or profit.
Special treatment. No public officer or employee shall grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other citizen.
No public employee of the City of Pleasantville shall act as officer or agent for such city or City Council for the transaction of any business with himself or with a business entity in which he has a financial interest.
No public officer or employee of the City of Pleasantville shall solicit, receive or agree to receive, directly or indirectly, any compensation, reward, employment, gift or other thing of value from any source other than the City of Pleasantville in which he is employed for any services, advice, assistance or other matter related to his official duties, unless authorized or required to do so by enactment of the local governing body.
Notwithstanding any provisions hereinbefore set forth prohibiting any public officer or employee from taking or participating in any official action otherwise within the scope of his duties, powers and functions if he has a personal or financial interest in said action, said prohibitions shall not apply to any purely ministerial act not involving the judgment or discretion of such public officer or employee.
Nothing herein shall prevent or prohibit a public official, officer or employee from taking or participating in an official action in all cases where such action or participation is permitted under the principles of the common law doctrine of necessity as heretofore recognized in the law of this state.
The advisory opinion of the Board in such a case shall be in the form of a final judgment as to the permissibility of the proposed action or participation and shall be appealable directly to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
Any member of the Council who has a financial interest or personal interest in any proposed legislation before the Council shall disclose on the record of the Council the nature and extent of such interest.
Any other official or employee who has a financial or personal interest in any proposed legislative action of the Council and who participates in discussion with or gives an official opinion or recommendation to the Council shall disclose on the record of the Council the nature and extent of such interest.
Whoever knowingly and willfully and with intent to use or procure the use of the powers of a public office or position for the promotion of a private financial or personal interest violates or solicits or abets the violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or of the Code of Ethics promulgated pursuant to § 27-3 of this chapter shall be adjudged a disorderly person and, upon conviction thereof before the Municipal Court, shall be subject to pay a fine of not less than $100 or not more than $1,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days and/or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days.
Any public officer or employee or former public officer or employee who violates the provisions of this chapter or of the Code of Ethics promulgated pursuant to § 27-3 of this chapter, and any person other than a public officer or employee who shall procure, solicit or abet any such violation, shall, in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law for the conduct constituting such violation, be subject to appropriate disciplinary proceedings and penalties in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
In the event that the Board of Ethics shall, under the provisions of this chapter, make a determination that the conduct of any official or employee was improper, the Council, based upon the written findings, conclusions and determinations of the Board of Ethics, may institute appropriate action for censure, suspension or removal from office of said official or employee, affording such official or employee a public hearing therein.
There is hereby created the Pleasantville Ethics Board, which is hereby allocated in the Legal Division of the City of Pleasantville, but, notwithstanding said allocation, the Board shall be independent of any supervision or control by the Department or by any board or office thereof unless otherwise provided by law and ordinance of the city, it being the intent of this chapter that the assignment, direction, discipline and supervision of all the officers and employees shall be, so far as possible and except as otherwise provided in this chapter, determined by the Board, as set forth herein.
The Board shall consist of three members who shall be citizens and residents of Pleasantville, who shall be appointed by the Mayor with the consent of Council for a term of one year. The City Solicitor shall be an ex officio member of the Board. Vacancies in the membership of the Board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments, for the unexpired term only.
No person holding any other office, position or employment under this state, county or city or under the government of the United States, except the City Solicitor as hereinbefore provided, shall be eligible to qualify as a member of the Board; and if any member of the Board shall accept any such other office, position or employment, his office as such member shall thereupon become vacant.
Members of the Board shall serve without compensation.
Upon making the original appointments, and during the month of January of each year thereafter, the Mayor shall designate one of the members of the Board to be the Chairman thereof; and within 10 days of such designation, the Chairman shall convene the Board for the purposes of organization. The Board shall be in continuous session and shall, by its rules and regulations, set formal meeting dates. The Board may meet and hold hearings at such times and places as it may deem necessary or convenient for the proper discharge of its duties and functions.
The Board shall appoint a Secretary, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Board and shall not have tenure by virtue of the provisions of N.J.S.A. 38:16-1 et seq. and the Board may, with the approval of Council, appoint such other employees as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
The Board shall promulgate such rules and regulations and official forms and perform such duties as are necessary to provide for the proper functioning of the Board and to implement the provisions of this chapter.
The concurring vote of at least two members of the Board and the City Solicitor shall be necessary to the issuance of any ruling or opinion or to the taking of any official action or making of any official determination by the Board under the powers conferred by this chapter.
It shall be the duty of the Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter, to conduct hearings with regard to possible violations and to impose penalties; and for the effectual carrying out of its enforcement responsibilities, the Board shall have the authority to initiate a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of enforcing compliance with the provisions of this chapter or enjoining violations thereof or recovering any penalty prescribed by this chapter.
The Board, in order to perform its duties pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, shall have the power to conduct investigations, hold hearings, compel the attendance of witnesses and the production before it of such books and papers as it may deem necessary, proper and relevant to the matter under investigation and to administer oaths and examine witnesses under oath.
The Board shall have jurisdiction to initiate, receive, hear and review complaints regarding violations by any public employee or former public employee of any local government unit of the provisions of this chapter or of the Code of Ethics promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
Whenever a contract or transaction entered into by the City of Pleasantville or City Council has been found to involve the holding of a prohibited interest or the taking of an official action by a public officer or employee in violation of the provisions of this chapter, such public officer or employee and any other person who has procured, solicited or abetted such violation shall be liable to a civil action for damages in the amount of twice the amount of any profit or gain realized from the contract or transaction. Such action shall be brought in the name of the City of Pleasantville, and the City Council or the Board shall, jointly and severally, have the power to institute such an action.
It shall be the duty of the Board to furnish opinions and guidance to public officers and employees of the local government units relative to inquiries concerning proper conduct or activities for such officer or employee.
Every inquiry shall be in writing, signed by the inquirer and in such form and detail as the Board may require. It shall set forth with particularity the factual situation concerning which the opinion of the Board is sought and shall contain a certificate that any opinion of the Board rendered thereon will not be used for any purpose other than set forth in the inquiry.
Opinions rendered by the Board upon inquiry or in connection with the issuance of a ruling or decision shall be in writing and shall be filed with the Secretary, who shall keep a copy as a permanent record. In the case of any advisory opinion, the Secretary shall transmit a copy, authenticating the same by his certificate attached thereto, to the person originating the inquiry and to such other person or persons as the Board may direct.
The Secretary shall make suitable arrangements for the prompt publication of all opinions rendered by the Board, together with an accurate and complete index thereof.
Procedures regarding the Police Department shall be in accordance with relevant state statutes and shall be referred to the Police Department for departmental hearings.
The City Clerk shall cause a copy of this Code of Ethics to be distributed to every public officer and employee of the City of Pleasantville within 30 days after enactment of this code. Each public officer and employee elected, appointed or engaged thereafter shall be furnished a copy before entering upon the duties of his office or employment.
Each public officer, the President of the Common Council, the Chairman of each board, commission or agency and the head of each department shall, between January 1 and January 31 each year, review the provisions of this code himself and with his fellow council, board, commission or agency members or subordinates, as the case may be, and certify to the City Clerk by February 15 that such annual review had been undertaken. A copy of this code shall be continuously posted on each department bulletin board wherever situated.
The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to be in addition to any other existing provision of state law or local ordinance and shall in no way or manner create any privilege nor any immunity from any statutory or case law of the State of New Jersey but shall be considered regulation in addition to such law.