Zero Tolerance Policy for Accepting Gifts
(Woodbury, NJ) – Gloucester County government officials, employees at every level of county government, Agencies, Authorities and their board members or commissioners are prohibited from accepting gifts from vendors and contractors not only during the holiday season, but all year long announced Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney and Freeholder Joseph A. Brigandi, Jr.
“Gloucester County has had a very strict code of ethics in place following the state statute for the Local Government Ethics Law*, however this zero tolerance policy for accepting gifts goes even beyond the current state statute, and match the Uniform Ethics Code adopted by the State Ethics Commission,” stated Freeholder Director Sweeney.
The directive would mirror that of the Uniform Ethics Code adopted in September by the State Ethics Commission. Section III that states that “No state officer or employee or special state officer or employee shall accept any gift, favor, service or other thing of value related in any way to the state official’s public duties.”**
“This Freeholder Board believes that by implementing this zero tolerance policy immediately, even for the smallest of tokens, it sets the highest standards for not only the Freeholders, but every employee and authority employee and appointed board members and commissioners,” Sweeney said.
The Freeholder stated that the policy will cover everyone and letters have been drafted advising vendors and contractors who do business with the county and its agencies that the county has a zero gift policy when it comes to accepting gifts from vendors and asks them not to offer them. Language will be incorporated into all new contracts that explain the directive and that violators of the policy could be subject to losing their contract. Employees who violate the policy would face disciplinary actions.
Freeholder Brigandi said, “This policy will extend to gifts of any kind, food, beverages, tickets or parties. It is timely to enforce this policy around the holidays because many vendors innocently provide small tokens of appreciation to people whom they do business, but the practice is prohibited here – 365 days a year.”
“The Freeholder Board believes that the best way to ensure that the public is served without question of impropriety is to strictly enforce a zero tolerance for gift policy,” stated Brigandi.
* State Ethics Statute 40A:9-22.1 to 40A:9-22.25
40A:9-22.1. Short title – This is act shall be known and may be cited as the "Local Government Ethics Law." L.1991,c.29,s.1.
**Uniform Ethics Code – pages 1 – 10 attached or see http://www.state.nj.us/ethics/docs/ethics/uniformcode.pdf