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School Ethics Commission Decisions
Public Advisory Opinions
Collective Bargaining, Negotiation & Contract

A16-96 Board member with a spouse in the administrators’ association may not participate in discussions and vote on a contract with the teachers when provisions of the contracts are linked. 1/28/97
A08-98 1) A Board member with sister-in-law in the local bargaining unit would not violate the Act by voting on the contract; 2) Board attorney must advise that board members with a conflict of interest with one unit may vote on the contract of another unit if the contract provisions are not based on the settlement of the other. 5/26/98
A02-00 Board member whose spouse is employed as a teacher in another district may not negotiate with teachers in his district who are affiliated with the same statewide general union, although the spouse has no NJEA affiliation and does not pay a representation fee.

To the extent the Commission's past advisories dealing with the search for and selection of a new Superintendent are inconsistent with the determination in Martinez v. Albolino, C45-11 (June 27, 2012), this advisory is no longer considered valid guidance.

03/28/00
A14-00

This Advisory Opinion has been superseded by Martinez v. Albolino, C45-11 (June 27, 2012) as well as the decisions and other advisory opinions which followed; therefore, it is no longer considered valid advice.

11/28/00
A16-00

Board member would violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c) of the Act if he were to participate in negotiations or vote on a contract with the local education association when his brother holds a position in the maintenance department and is a member of the local education association in the district in which he serves. 11/28/00
A01-01

Board members would violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c) of the Act if they were to participate in negotiations and vote on the contract with the teachers' association when their spouses are teacher aides in the district. Board member who is also Board president would not violate the subsection by appointing the chairperson and/or members of the negotiations committee.

To the extent the Commission's past advisories dealing with the search for and selection of a new Superintendent are inconsistent with the determination in Martinez v. Albolino, C45-11 (June 27, 2012), this advisory is no longer considered valid guidance.

1/23/01
A13-02 Three Board members who were endorsed by the local teachers' association in the 2001 election would not violate the School Ethics Act if they were to participate in upcoming negotiations involving the local education association or vote on the collective bargaining agreement. However, the three Board members who were endorsed by the association in 2002 would violate the Act if they were to negotiate and vote. 12/02/02
A14-02 A Board member whose brother-in-law teaches in another school district would not violate the Act if he were to participate in negotiations with the local education association. The Doctrine of Necessity should not be invoked to allow the entire Board to participate in negotiations when there are three Board members without conflicts who may serve as the negotiating committee. Third, the Business Administrator whose spouse is an NJEA member may provide technical assistance to the Board without invoking the Doctrine of Necessity. 11/15/02
A19-03 Board president who is a member of an NJEA affiliate in another district and spouse to an NJEA member in the same district would not violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c) by signing the retainer agreement for the law firm, signing the collective bargaining agreement, or signing off on the monthly bill list which includes payment to the labor negotiators, or the payroll certification which authorizes payment to district employees. 8/27/03
A23-04 Board members who have retired from the NJEA may serve on the board’s negotiations committee without violating the Act provided they are not actively participating in the NJEA. 8/23/04
A19-05 Board member, whose sister is a teacher in another school district and is a member of the same statewide union with which the board negotiates, would not violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c) by participating in negotiations with the local education association. 7/22/05
A34-07    

This Advisory Opinion has been superseded by Martinez v. Albolino, C45-11 (June 27, 2012) as well as the decisions and other advisory opinions which followed; therefore, it is no longer considered valid advice.

2/26/08
A14-12 School board member, whose son is a custodial employee, may  participate in negotiations for administrators unless some relationship exists that links the  administrators' contract  to the custodians' contract,  providing a benefit,  advantage, profit or gain to the son. 7/26/12
A20-12 Board member, whose husband and brother work in the district,  may not participate in closed session discussions and performance evaluation of either of the direct administrators or the central administration evaluations of the superintendent or assistant superintendents. Moreover, the Board member may not review any of the executive minutes, sit in on or be advised of the negotiation of committee's updates unless the information is also available to the general public.  Finally, the Board member may not participate in an executive session that considers the administrators' positions in schools in which the brother or husband teaches.  Doing so would violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c) and N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24.1(g). 10/31/12
A29-12 A Board member whose daughter is a co-coach in the District may not participate in evaluating the Superintendent and must recuse himself from any committee issue, policy discussion or vote wherein there is any potential benefit for the daughter as the benefit is inextricably linked not only to the Superintendent in his/her role during negotiations, but also to the Superintendent as an administrator.  N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c). 2/20/2013
A03-13 Board members must recuse themselves from any discussion, decision, vote or action related to the Superintendent when: 1) a spouse is employed by another organization which contracts with the District or violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c); or, 2) a brother-in-law is employed by the District as a custodian or violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(b). 5/1/2013

A10-13

A Board member who works for the local police department or who has a spouse who works for the local police department which has a shared services agreement with the District must recuse him/herself from any discussion or vote on any matter regarding the shared services agreement. Additionally, the member may not vote on any non-itemized bills for payment to the police department for the services provided to the District.  N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c).

6/25/2013

A13-13

Board members must recuse themselves from participation in negotiations with the local union affiliate or in other matters related to their duties on the Board if: 1) the member is employed by the NJEA; or, 2) the member is employed by County Special Services with which the local board of education has a number of contracts for classified student services.

7/31/2013

A15-13 A Board member who is not married but has been in a long-term personal relationship and cohabitates with an employee of the District creates a conflict for the Board member under application of N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(b). 8/28/2013

A19-13

Board members must recuse themselves from negotiations, employment discussions and voting on teacher contracts when a member of the teaching staff covered by those matters is a local town council member and the Board members are employed by the municipality governed by the council on which the teacher sits.  N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(b) and (c).

12/20/2013

A22-13

A Board member would violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(b) and (c) if he were to participate in negotiations with the local education association when his father-in-law is a custodian in the District and the Board member lives with the father-in-law and co-owns his home with the father-in-law.

3/7/2014

A07-14

A Board member would violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c) if he were to participate in the negotiation of the local collective bargaining agreement when he is a secretary in another district who is subject to a local union contract.

4/23/2014

A09-14

A Board member would violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c) if he were to negotiate or be involved in discussions with the local New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) affiliate when the Board member is employed in a different district and represented by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a different state-wide teachers union.

4/23/2014

A10-14 A Board member must limit certain Board activity when the spouse is the mayor of the local municipality or the Board member's cousin is employed by the District.  N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(b), (c) and (f). 4/23/2014
A25-14 A Board member whose spouse is employed with the District in a position classified either as a paraprofessional or substitute-paraprofessional may not participate in any employment or personnel issues of those who have influence over or affect the spouse's employment in any manner.  N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c).  Change in the spouse's title does not remove the conflict. 6/25/2014
A30-14 A Board member whose son is employed as a summer student worker or whose spouse is employed as a substitute in the District may not participate in any discussion pre- or post-hire, may not engage in any aspect of the vetting process, evaluation, contract discussion or vote regarding the Superintendent's employment.  The prohibition includes the selection committee or firm which will conduct the search for the Superintendent.  These limitations exist as long as: 1) the son is employed with the District as a summer student worker; or, 2) for the duration of time that the spouse is employed as a substitute teacher in the District.  N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(c). 8/27/2014

A34-14

A Board member's long-standing affiliation with the NJEA over the course of his career, prior to retiring and serving on the Board, is too extensive and as such the member must recuse him/herself from participating in any and all Board actions connected to the NJEA and local union.  This prohibition extends for the duration of the Board member's term or the length of his service on the Board.  N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(b) and (c).

8/27/2014

A43-14

A Superintendent who resides with a non-dependent child employed in another District, and receives benefits from the collective bargaining agreement in the other District, may not participate in negotiations between the Board and local union affiliate.  N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(b).

11/26/2014

A03-15 A Board member would violate N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(b) if he were to participate in the Collective Bargaining, Negotiation & Contract when a sister-in-law is employed by another district and is a member of its local education association. 3/25/2015