WHEREAS, in the words of President John F. Kennedy, "[n]o responsibility of government is more fundamental than the responsibility for maintaining the highest standards of ethical behavior by those who conduct the public business....This principle must be followed not only in reality, but in appearance. For the basis of effective government is public confidence, and that confidence is endangered when ethical standards falter or appear to falter"; and
WHEREAS, I have made it a cornerstone of my administration to transform the ethical culture in State government, with the hope of forging a renewed partnership among government, its employees, and the people of this State; and
WHEREAS, to help realize this goal, I appointed Special Counsel for Ethics Review to assess the efficacy of the State's existing ethical standards, to conduct an extensive audit of Executive Branch ethics training programs, and to identify areas within the existing ethics rules that require reform and improvement; and
WHEREAS, after completing their review and analysis, Special Counsel issued a series of sweeping recommendations designed to clarify and unify the State's ethics codes, promote transparency in government processes, bolster ethics training programs, enhance government accountability to the public, and toughen penalties for ethics violations; and
WHEREAS, as concrete steps toward achieving these ends, Special Counsel urged the implementation of three new ethics guidelines: The Uniform Ethics Code, the Plain Language Ethics Guide, and the Business Ethics Guide; recommended that the Executive Commission on Ethical Standards establish a confidential toll-free hotline for the receipt of ethics complaints; proposed that the Executive Commission post financial disclosure forms in an on-line searchable database; and urged the Executive Director of the Executive Commission on Ethical Standards to meet with every new member of the Governor's Cabinet shortly after they take office, and thereafter to meet with the entire Cabinet on an annual basis to address ethics-related issues; and
WHEREAS, the Uniform Ethics Code distills the otherwise disparate Executive Branch ethics strictures into a single ethics code, providing uniform standards of conduct applicable to all Executive Branch employees; and
WHEREAS, the Plain Language Ethics Guide explains clearly and succinctly to all Executive Branch employees the ethical standards that must be met by every State employee; and
WHEREAS, the Business Ethics Guide makes clear the ethical standards required of third parties conducting business with the State; and
WHEREAS, the confidential, toll-free reporting hotline allows both State employees and members of the public to lodge ethics complaints, obtain information, and voice ethics-related concerns; and
WHEREAS, posting financial disclosure forms on the internet provides the public with ready access to the assets, holdings, and other financial interests of public employees; and
WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey has a compelling interest in ensuring that Executive Branch employees understand and appreciate their ethical duties and responsibilities; and
WHEREAS, those who have a business relationship with a governmental agency must be fully educated regarding their ethical obligations to the public; and
WHEREAS, it is important that Executive Branch business be conducted in the most transparent manner possible, so that citizens have full information about efforts directed at influencing Executive Branch policies and procurement; and
WHEREAS, we must always remember that government officers are at all times accountable to the people of this State and that public service should never be used for private gain;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD J. CODEY, Acting Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
- The Executive Commission on Ethical Standards shall promulgate a Uniform
- All Executive Branch departments, agencies, and authorities shall
conform their individual ethics codes to the Uniform Ethics Code.
- Every Executive Branch department, agency, and authority shall disseminate the
Plain Language Ethics Guide to their employees and shall require said employees
to certify that they have received, reviewed, and understood the ethical
strictures set forth therein.
- The Treasury Department's Division of Purchase
and Property shall post the Business Ethics Guide on its website and to
require any potential vendor with the State to certify compliance with
said guide before submission of a bid.
- The Executive Commission on Ethical Standards shall establish a new, toll-free, confidential reporting hotline for the receipt of ethics complaints.
- The Executive Commission on Ethical Standards shall post the financial disclosure forms of public employees and officers, filed pursuant to Executive Order No. 10 (2002), on a web-based searchable database, beginning with the forms filed in 2005.
- The Executive Director of the Executive Commission on Ethical Standards shall appear before the Governor's Cabinet on an annual basis to provide a refresher course on the ethics rules and to address ethics-related issues.
- The Executive Director of the Executive Commission on Ethical Standards shall brief every new Cabinet member on their ethical responsibilities not later than 30 days after they assume office.
- This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this
in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand
and Five, and of the Independence of the United
States, the Two Hundred and Twenty-Ninth.
/s/ Richard J. Codey
/s/ Paul T. Fader
Chief Counsel to the Governor