Ordinance No. 19-17

Introduced: July 8, 2019
Public Hearing: July 22, 2019
Status: Pending

An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending Chapter 89 of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Personnel Policies” to Create Article IV Entitled “Anti-Nepotism Policy”

WHEREAS, in order to maintain confidence in the Township of Vernon (“Township”) government, it is imperative that residents can be assured that Township employment is free from nepotism, patronage, and favoritism; and

WHEREAS, it is imperative that Township employment be based on merit, so that residents are assured that Township employees will be providing the highest quality service to those deserving residents; and

WHEREAS, the governing body of the Township has found that it is in the public interest to amend Chapter 89 of the Township Code to include an Anti-Nepotism Policy; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 89 of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon is hereby amended and supplemented as follows:

ARTICLE IV Anti-Nepotism Policy

§ 89-11. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

CONTRACTORS - shall mean contractors, independent contractors, subcontractors, vendors, professionals appointed pursuant to the Fair and Open Process or the Non-Fair and Open Process or person, persons or business working for the Township whose employment is limited in scope or duration to a specific project with the Township and subject to either a bid proposal or a solicitation of quotes. (Examples would include, but not be limited to: road projects; construction projects; projects). Employment with contractors shall be considered for the purpose of this section as employment with the Township.

DEPARTMENT - Shall mean any department within the government structure of the Township of Vernon, whether existing pursuant to the Township Code or pursuant to the laws of the State of New Jersey.

ELECTED OFFICIAL - Shall mean any person holding the position of Mayor or Council member of the Township of Vernon.

RELATIVE - Shall mean spouse or significant other, child, parent, stepchild, sibling, grandparent, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, grandchild, niece, nephew, uncle, aunt or any other person related by blood or marriage.

SUPERVISOR - Shall mean any employee of the Township of Vernon having supervisory duties and powers over another employee within the Township of Vernon.

TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT - Shall mean any employment (or employee thereunder) which is not full- time or regular part-time, and shall include, without limitation, seasonal employees including, but not limited to, seasonal employees affiliated with Township recreation and leaf pick-up programs.

§ 89-12. Applicability.

  1. The prohibitions set forth in these Anti-Nepotism regulations shall apply to all Contractors, and full-time and regular part-time positions of the Township of Vernon, but shall not apply to any Temporary Employment.
  2. Subject to the exception in Subsection 89-13 below, this section and the prohibition against certain hiring contained herein shall be applied prospectively only from the effective date of this Chapter, and shall not in any way be construed to prohibit or make unlawful any current employment relationship or situation or the hiring or promotion of any person currently employed by the Township of Vernon as of the effective date of this Chapter which may technically be in violation of the terms hereof but for its prospective application. For purposes of interpreting this exception, persons appointed to positions of employment with the Township of Vernon for a set term shall be considered current employees notwithstanding the fact that the then term may have ended. Such persons holding positions of employment with the Township of Vernon under a set term may be hired to any position in the Township, rehired, reappointed or promoted, as may be the case, without violating this Chapter.

§ 89-13. Restrictions on Hiring, Supervision and Promotions of Employees.

The following restrictions shall apply to the hiring and promotion of employees to employment positions for the Township of Vernon:

  1. Elected Officials. No elected official of the Township of Vernon shall be considered for employment or hired to a position of employment with the Township of Vernon either during his or her term of office or within four (4) years after the expiration of the term. No elected official shall serve as Council liaison to any Department that employs any Relative of that elected official.
  2. Relative of Elected Officials. No person who is a Relative of any elected official of the Township of Vernon shall be considered for employment as an employee of the Township of Vernon. This shall not restrict nor prohibit the continued employment of individuals to a position with the Township of Vernon where a Relative of an employee is elected as a Mayor or Council member after the date of the employee’s start of employment with the Township of Vernon.
  3. Promotion of Existing Employees. Notwithstanding the prospective applications as to the remainder of this Chapter as applied above, no elected official may participate in the promotion process or hiring process in the Department of any existing employee who is a Relative of the elected official as the case may be. The elected official shall abstain from participation in such personnel action as it applies to such Relative.
  4. Appointments. No Relative of an elected official of the Township of Vernon shall be appointed to the position of any Township of Vernon professional who receives compensation, or any Township of Vernon Board or Commission which has more than an advisory role and/ or one in which the members receive compensation.
  5. Department Heads. No person who is a Relative of any Department head of the Township of Vernon shall be considered for employment as an employee of the Township of Vernon. This shall not restrict nor prohibit the continued employment of individuals to a position with the Township of Vernon where a Relative of a Department head is hired before the effective date of this Chapter.

§ 89-14. Purpose.

This policy is not for the purpose of depriving any citizen of an equal chance for employment with the Township of Vernon, but is solely intended to eliminate the potential for preferential treatment of the Relatives of the members of the governing body and/ or any Department head.

§ 89-15. Current Employees.

Except as may be otherwise expressly provided for herein, this Chapter shall not affect the employment of any present Township of Vernon employee, nor shall it be construed or enforced in such manner as to violate, abridge or impair any rights of individuals employed or affiliated with the Township under any collective bargaining agreement, employment contract, or any state or federal law protecting the employment rights of any such individuals. If, however, an employee of the Township of Vernon becomes an elected official of the Township of Vernon following the adoption of this Ordinance, the employee must either resign their employment with the Township of Vernon or resign from the office to which they were elected.

SECTION 2. Each section of this ordinance is an independent section, and the holding of any section or part thereof to be unconstitutional, void or ineffective for any cause shall not be deemed to affect the validity of constitutionality of any other sections or parts thereof.

SECTION 3. Any ordinances or parts thereof in conflict with the provisions of this Ordinance are hereby repealed as to their inconsistencies only.

SECTION 4. This Ordinance shall take effect immediately upon final passage, approval, and publication by law.