WHEREAS, it is a priority of this administration to restore public trust and confidence in government; and
WHEREAS, it is imperative that public officials at all levels of government earn and maintain the confidence of the people they represent; and
WHEREAS, those serving in State, county, municipal, and other local government units hold positions of public trust that require adherence to the highest ethical standards of honesty and integrity; and
WHEREAS, public officials should not engage in any conduct that violates the public trust or creates an appearance of impropriety; and
WHEREAS, the current local government ethics laws were first adopted in 1991, and since that time there has not been a thorough review of the efficacy of those laws, nor any comprehensive study of the need for amendments thereto; and
WHEREAS, to the extent appropriate, ethical standards should be applied consistently to similarly situated officials in order to promote respect for those standards and provide for their enforcement; and
WHEREAS, persons serving in government should have the benefit of clear and consistent standards, ample training opportunities, and an effective compliance program to assist in guiding their conduct; and
WHEREAS, it is appropriate to create a body with experience and expertise in local governance, local government ethics, and the procurement of goods and services by local units to study the experience of local units under the local government ethics laws and make recommendations regarding amendments to those laws, including whether enforcement responsibility should be shifted from the Local Finance Board to a different body solely focused on government ethics;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JON S. CORZINE, 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:
- There is hereby established the Governor’s Local Government Ethics Task Force (“Task Force”).
- The Task Force shall be composed of 11 individuals with expertise in local governance, local government ethics, and the procurement of goods and services by local units. Members will be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Task Force membership shall include one individual who shall be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the President of the Senate, one individual who shall be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Senate Minority Leader, one individual who shall be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the Assembly, and one individual who shall be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Assembly Minority Leader. The Governor shall select from among all of the members the chairperson of the Task Force. The members shall serve without compensation.
- The Task Force shall organize as soon as practicable after the appointment of a majority of its members.
- The Task Force is charged with studying and making recommendations regarding the need for amendments to the local government ethics laws and whether enforcement responsibility should be shifted from the Local Finance Board to a different body that is solely focused on government ethics. The Task Force also shall consider and make recommendations concerning how to implement a training and compliance program for local government ethics.
- The Task Force shall be authorized to call upon any department, office, division, or agency of this State to supply it with any information or other assistance available as the Task Force deems necessary to discharge its duties under this Order. Each department, office, division, or agency of this State is hereby required, to the extent not inconsistent with law, to cooperate fully with the Task Force within the limits of its statutory authority and to furnish the Task Force with such assistance on as timely a basis as is necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Order. The Task Force may consult with experts or other knowledgeable individuals in the public or private sector on any aspect of its mission.
- The Task Force may report to the Governor from time to time and shall issue a final report to the Governor no later than 10 months from the date of the first organizational meeting. The final report shall include the Task Force’s recommendations. The Task Force shall expire upon the issuance of its final report.
- Any reports of the Task Force shall be provided to the Legislature and shall be made available to the public.
- This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal
this 24th day
of September, Two Thousand and Eight, and of
the Independence of the United States, the Two
Hundred and Thirty-Third.
/s/ Jon S. Corzine
/s/ Edward J. McBride, Jr.
Chief Counsel to the Governor