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Department of Commerce and Economic Development (Undated)
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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CODE OF ETHICS
I. General Acceptance of Mission Statement and Focus for the Department of Commerce and Economic Development
A. Mission Statement
The New Jersey Department of Commerce and Economic Development promotes economic vitality now and builds a foundation for world economic leadership in the 21st century. The Department stimulates dynamic economic growth by providing resources and services to citizens, businesses and institutions, in partnership with other government agencies and the private sector, to create jobs. By nurturing, expanding and attracting industry, we can achieve the highest quality of life and secure economic security for all our citizens. The focus of this department is to:
Maintain continuous liaison with the business community and its leadership to assist in the formulation and direction of economic policy to provide business and industry the optimum climate within which enterprise may grow.
Serve as a focal point for economic development activities in the State in cooperation with other entities, both public and private.
Serve as the coordinating entity for the State on matters relating to the economy.
Be responsible for activities that support development of business and industry through aid, promotion and advertising.
This code of ethics for the Department of Commerce and Economic Development is promulgated pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52-13D.23 of the New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law, N.J.S.A. 52-13D-12 et seq. Accordingly, it conforms to the general standards set forth in the law and is intended to compliment the law by addressing the particular needs and problems faced by employees of the Department of Commerce and Economic Development. It is also intended to supersede all previous codes of ethics of the Department of Commerce and Economic Development on the effective date of adoption.
III. General Definitions
A. "Code" - shall mean this Code of Ethics.
B. "Department" - shall mean the Department of Commerce and Economic Development, its Divisions, Offices, Boards, Commissions or other, instrumentalities within or created by the Department or in, but not of, the Department.
C. "Commissioner' means the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Economic Development.
D. '"Employee" shall mean any personnel employed by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development excepting "Special State Officer or employee" as later defined.
E. "Immediate family" - shall mean the person's spouse, child, parent or sibling residing in the same household.
F. "Special State officer or employee" - means (1) any person holding an office or employment in a State agency for which office of employment no compensation is authorized or provided by law, or no compensation other than a sum in reimbursement of expenses whether payable per diem or per annum, is authorized or provided by law, and (2) any person, not a member of the Legislature, holding a part-time elective or appointive office or employment on the Legislative branch.
IV. General Provisions
A. No State officer or employee or special State officer or employee shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage In any business or transaction or professional activity, or hold any office outside of State government office, position or employment which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his or her duties in the public interest.
B. No State officer or employee and special State officers and employees shall engage in any particular business, profession, trade or occupation which is subject to licensing or regulation by a specific agency of State government without promptly filing notice of such activity with the Executive Commission on Ethical Standards.
C. No State officer or employee or special State officer or employee should use or attempt to use his or her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself, herself or others.
D. No officer of employee or special State officer or employee should act in his or her officer capacity in any matter wherein he or she has a direct or indirect personal interest that might reasonably be expected to impair his or her objectivity or independence of judgment.
E. No State officer or employee or special State officer or employee should undertake an employment or service, whether compensated or not which might be reasonably be expected to impair his or her objectivity and independence of judgement in the exercise of his or her official duties.
F. No State officer or employee or special State officer or employee should accept any gift, favor, service or thing of value under circumstances from which it might be reasonably interred that such gift, service or other thing of value was given or offered for the purpose of influencing him or her in the discharge of his or her official duties.
G. No State officer or employee or special State officer or employee should knowingly act in any way that might reasonably be expected to create an impression or suspicion among the public having knowledge of his or her acts that he or she may be engaged in conduct violative of his or her trust as an employee or special State officer or employee.
H. Confidential information (information not available to the general public) shall not be:
- Willfully disclosed to unauthorized persons wither during State services or after separation from State service;
- Used by the employee to further his or her private interests; or the private interest of others; or
- Used by the employees, directly or indirectly for pecuniary gain or to make any investments or other financial transaction for himself or herself or others.
V. Permitted Activities
Employees may publish articles, accept speaking engagements, or take part in educational endeavors, provided such are consistent with the obligations placed on employees by the Conflicts of Interest Law and this Code. Employees shall notice the Division Director when such activities involve compensation and are related to the normal course of employment. Division Directors shall notice the Ethics Liaison Officer of the same. Further, employees are permitted to accept a meal or refreshments while performing functions required by their employment (i.e., speaker, Special guest, panel member or participant at a ceremony) provided such meals or refreshments are similarly available to other participants.
VI. Guidelines On Specific Subjects
A. Attendance at Events or Functions
An employee may accept an invitation to business related functions (such as a conference, ground breaking, ribbon cutting. meal. open house, cocktail party or other social functions) from or with a firm doing business with the Department of Commerce and Economic Development. In accordance with this department's mission and focus, attendance at business related events may further the goals of this department and may be required in relation to the employees' job responsibilities or in reason to programs or projects that benefit the State. All attendance of business related functions shall take into consideration whether a legitimate State purpose will be served by attendance. Relevant considerations include:
- The identity of the sponsor.
- The purpose of the event.
- The identity of other expected participants.
- Whether attendance/participation in the event will assist the employee in carrying out his/her official duties and support the mission of this department.
- The monetary value and character of the reimbursements, benefits and/or honoraria provided by the sponsor including whether the reimbursements, benefit and/or honoraria in comparable to those offered to or purchased by other attended.
- Review and approval for attendance at events or functions shall be obtained from the Division head or their employee and the Ethics Liaison Officer for the Division heads. The employee shall submit a "request for approval for attendance at event" where deemed appropriate. Review and approval of these requests shall conform with N.J.S.A. 19:61- 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 and 6.5.
B. Receipt of Gifts and Favors
All employees and Special State Officers or employees shall report to the Ethics Liaison Officer any gift or other thing of value received from a person or corporation with whom they have contact in their official capacity. The Ethics Liaison Officer shall determine whether the item may be accepted or retained, or whether such receipt would create an impression of a conflict of interest, appearance of impropriety or violation of the public trust. Unsolicited gifts or benefits or trivial or nominal value, such as complimentary articles offered to the public in general, and gifts received as a result or mass advertising mailings may be retained by the recipient or the recipient's department for general use if it does not create an or the recipient's department for general use if it does not create an or the recipient's department for general use if it does not create an impression of a conflict of interest or violation of the public trust.
Further, during the normal course of business, involving International Trade activities, it is customary for dignitaries and foreign officers to exchange gifts. In fact in some circumstances, it is deemed a breach of protocol not to exchange gifts. This practice is recognized as acceptable behavior. (Such gifts shall be reported to and placed in the custody of the Ethics Liaison Officer as soon as possible, for appropriate disposition).
C. Promotion of State Products
In accordance with this departments mission, and acknowledging that trade missions and reverse investment missions provide this department with the opportunity to promote New Jersey and its products, an employee may act as a conduit for the presentation of a gift item(s) provided by a firm which is to be presented to another firm or official during the course of such business. This is predicated upon the following conditions:
- The gift(s) will encourage trade or revenue investment.
- The gift(s) is not for personal use to any employee of this department.
- The gift(s) is indication of the products produced in this State and will promote such products.
D. Retirement Gifts
The maximum value of retirement gifts cannot exceed $1,000. If this method is used, there is not maximum set on individual contributions, but the total value of retirement gifts and/or monetary tokens to the retiree, spouse and dependents cannot exceed $1,000.00 If, instead of presenting gifts or monetary tokens to the retiree, spouse, and dependents, a decision is made to make a monetary contribution to a qualified organization (under I.R.S. Code 501 (c)(3), no limit is placed on the maximum value of the contribution.
E. Use of State information, Property and Funds: Use of Official Stationery regarding the use of State information, property and funds:
- An employee shall use the information, property and funds under his or her official control in accordance with prescribed procedures and not for personal gain or benefit.
- An employee shall not use or disclose information not generally available to members of the public, which information is obtained during the course of the employee's work within the office, other than such use or disclosure connected with the employee's official duties.
- In addition to all other official uses, the following uses of official stationery are generally permitted:
a) To recommend a current or former employee or colleague for another position, admission to a school or program, etc.
b) To respond to inquiries from a private entity about the employment status of a current or former employee or colleague. No other uses are permitted without the approval of the Ethics Liaison Officer. All questions regarding this area should be referred to the Ethics Liaison Officer.
F. Joint Ventures
In accordance with this department's mission and focus, joint ventures are encouraged as a means to find new and creative ways of underwriting functions which would not otherwise take place due to the economic climate.
Review and approval procedure must be conducted by the division head. The following information shall be considered:
- The nature of the event or activity funded, including approximate date, time duration, location, cost and identities of participants and attendees.
- The identities and apparent financial ability of joint sponsors or donors including relationship to the department.
- Identity of any amenities that could accrue to the personal benefit of a State officer or employee.
- Identification of the role to be played by the State Agency. The Commissioner and Ethics Liaison Officer shall be copied on all joint venture and private financing determinations.
G. Secondary Employment
The Commissioner may allow employees to hold outside office or a employment provided thereis no conflict of Interest with the employee's State job, and the employee does not use his or her State office or State time for the conduct of outside office or employment, whether compensated or uncompensated. Forms, as needed, may be obtained from the Ethics Liaison Officer. Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 19:61-2.2 the Ethics Liaison Officer shall send copies of all secondary employment forms to the Executive Commission on Ethical Standards for review.
H. Sexual Harassment
All forms of sexual harassment are strictly prohibited. A request for information or confidential complaint shall be addressed to the Department's Affirmative Action Officer.
I. Post-Employment Guidelines
State officers and employees and special State officers and employees who plan to leave State service may request a copy of detailed post-employment guidelines from the Ethics Liaison Officer or Personnel office. The Ethics Liaison Officer shall distribute the detailed post-employment guidelines for all those leaving State service.