of New Jersey
WHEREAS, this Administration is fully committed to establishing and maintaining the highest ethical standards in the conduct of State business; and
WHEREAS, State employees, government officials and members of public bodies must at all times be accountable to the people of the State; and
WHEREAS, public service must never be used for private gain; and
WHEREAS, members of the governing boards of State institutions of higher education in New Jersey are responsible for the expenditure of substantial amounts of public dollars and must be fully cognizant of the Conflicts of Interest Law and the need to avoid even the appearance of impropriety; and
WHEREAS, members of State university and college governing boards volunteer time and energy as a commitment to public service; and
WHEREAS, current financial disclosure forms applicable to members of State university and college governing boards do not detail or identify with sufficient precision the conflicts of interest that all board members must avoid; and
WHEREAS, multiple existing Executive Orders apply to members of State university and college governing boards and require disclosure forms that differ both in form and content; and
WHEREAS, an Advisory Group on Ethics Issues, consisting of former Governors Brendan Byrne and Thomas Kean, retired Supreme Court Justice Stewart Pollock, former Attorney General John Degnan, and Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman, Ph.D., has reviewed and identified concerns regarding the current system and recommended various changes to the Governor; and
WHEREAS, a new and stricter conflicts of interest form will provide for clearer public accountability by requiring governing board members both to identify specifically potential conflicts of interest and to swear under the penalties of perjury that they are not engaged in a practice that constitutes a conflict of interest; and
WHEREAS, requiring members of State university and college governing boards to complete and swear to the accuracy of a detailed and focused conflicts of interest form will enhance the State Ethics Commission's ability to review information and enforce the Conflicts of Interest Law;
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:
- No member of a governing board of a State university or college ("board member") or board member's spouse, domestic partner, or child, parent, or sibling residing in the same household shall do business with the institution that the board member governs. For the purposes of this Order, the term "do business with" shall mean providing or receiving any goods or services or otherwise engaging in a transaction involving the exchange of anything of value.
- No board member or board member's spouse, domestic partner, or child, parent, or sibling residing in the same household shall be employed by or derive or receive compensation from any firm, association, or partnership that does business with the institution that the board member governs.
- No board member shall own or control more than one percent of the profits or assets of a firm, association, or partnership that does business with the institution that the board member governs.
- The prohibitions in paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 shall also apply to shareholders, associates, or professional employees of a professional service corporation with which the board member is associated or otherwise affiliated regardless of the extent or amount of the board member's shareholder interest in such a corporation.
- The State Ethics Commission ("Commission") is hereby authorized to grant an exception from the terms of paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of this Order if, in the judgment of the executive director, the entity that is doing business with the institution is doing so pursuant to a contract awarded in accordance with the competitive bidding laws applicable to that institution or the public interest requires that an exception be made.
- The Commission shall promulgate a conflict of interest form designed to identify and avoid conflicts of interest involving board members. Each form shall be as complete and detailed as necessary in the judgment of the State Ethics Commission to fully disclose all conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest.
- Every board member shall file on an annual basis the conflicts of interest form on or before May 15, except that the 2006 filing must be made on or before July 1, 2006. Board members who are newly named to a board subsequent to the effective date of this Order shall file a conflicts of interest form no later than 120 days from their assumption of office.
- Each conflict of interest form shall contain a sworn certification, under penalty of perjury, by the board member that he or she has read the statement, that to the best of his or her knowledge and belief it is true, correct, and complete, and that he or she has not transferred and will not transfer any asset, interest, or property for the purpose of concealing it from disclosure while retaining an equitable interest therein.
- All State universities and colleges shall complete a list of all vendors and companies that do business with, or provide services to, their respective institutions ("vendor lists"). The institutions shall submit vendor lists to the Commission and to all individual board members no later than February 15 of each calendar year. Lists shall be provided this year no later than May 15, 2006.
- The Commission shall use these vendor lists to evaluate conflicts of interest on an ongoing basis. In addition, individual board members shall use these lists to identify and avoid conflicts and to prepare their conflicts of interest form.
- All State universities and colleges shall be required to update these vendor lists on a quarterly basis (namely, May 15, August 15, and November 15), and provide copies to the Commission and individual board members. The institutions shall also provide newly appointed board members with vendor lists when they join the governing board.
- Periodic updating of vendor lists will enable board members to comply with their continuing obligation to identify and avoid conflicts of interest. Within 30 days of the receipt of a quarterly update, board members shall report any potential new conflicts to the Commission.
- Each governing board of a State university or college shall incorporate the provisions of this Order into its code of ethics.
- The Commission shall have the authority to enforce the terms of this Order.
- In addition to all other civil and criminal penalties provided by law, a board member found by the Commission to have violated the provisions of paragraphs 1, 2, 3, or 4 of this Order shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $10,000 and may be suspended from office by order of the Commission for a period of not in excess of one year.
- The failure of any board member to comply with the provisions of this Order shall constitute good cause for the appointing authority to remove the board member from office. If the Commission finds that the conduct of the board member constitutes a continuous and willful disregard of the provisions of the Order, the Commission may order the board member removed from office and may further bar the board member from holding any public office or employment in the State for a period not exceeding five years from the date on which the Commission made its finding.
- For failure to file a conflicts of interest form, the Commission shall impose a civil penalty of $50 for each day of the violation, which penalty may be collected in a summary proceeding pursuant to the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L. 1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).
- Executive Order No. 65 (2005) is hereby rescinded and Executive Order No. 1 (2006) is hereby amended by deleting paragraph 6(b)(ii) of section I thereof.
- This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this
of May, Two Thousand and Six, and of the
Independence of the
United States, the Two
Hundred and Thirtieth.
/s/ Jon S. Corzine
/s/ Stuart Rabner
Chief Counsel to the Governor