Senate Passes Kean Ethics Bill to Make Local Government More Accountable


The New Jersey Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to strengthen local government accountability and ethics, in part, by transferring oversight at the municipal and county levels to the State Ethics Commission.

“New Jersey municipal and county officials must be more accountable to the people, as they control $15 billion taxpayer dollars each year,” said Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris). “This overdue measure holds local representatives to the highest and most efficient ethical standards. Without it, absent or fragmented oversight will continue to be a recipe for local government to violate the public trust.”

Senator Kean introduced the original version of this bill, S-342, in June 2012. Shortly thereafter, then-New Jersey Comptroller Matthew Boxer published a case-in-point investigative report about a Chesterfield Township Committeeman exploiting his position to reap a $200,000 windfall on the sale of development rights on his property.

Sign Up for E-News

“Every public official and employee in New Jersey must be held equally responsible to the toughest ethical laws and face the highest penalties for failure,” Kean said. “This bill will streamline the enforcement of conflicts of interest laws and expedite the adjudication of local cases before the state’s top ethics watchdog.”

Currently, ethics violations by local officials are penalized by a set of smaller monetary penalties than those involving state officials, and are adjudicated by the Department of Community Affairs.

S-342 enhances local government accountability in the following ways:

  • Gives the State Ethics Board jurisdiction over conflicts of interest law involving municipal government officials, removing such cases from Department of Community Affairs;
  • Subjects local government officials to the same schedule of monetary penalties as those faced by state officials for violations of the New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law; and
  • Requires the State Ethics Commission to promulgate financial disclosure forms for municipal officials

S-342 is one of many Senate Republican solutions to make government more accountable to end waste and abuse. Here is a link to a growing list of bills (with last session’s bill numbers as of this release).

The Under the Gold Dome Trenton Report is a forum for policy proposals from the nine legislators that represent the four towns covered by TAP into Somerset Hills (Bernardsville, Bedminster, Far Hills and Peapack-Gladstone.)  

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Somerset Hills

Back in the USA: Somerville HS Grad Returns from Deployment in So. Korea

February 11, 2018

FORT HOOD, Texas – Brendan Gallagher, a 2016 graduate of Somerville High School, is back in the USA, ending a six-month deployment in South Korea with the US Army First Air Cavalry.

Gallagher, 19, and the men and women of the Second Brigade, First Air Cav arrived at their home base after a long 26-hour flight from South Korea late Friday night where they were met by family and ...

Saint Peter's Fights Against Fatal Cardiac Arrests on the Playing Field

February 17, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a particular Tuesday evening, Jim Fisher stood in front of a group of coaches and doctors at the newly ​-​ renovated, start-of-the-art simulation center at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick.

Jim’s son, Sean, died in Aug ​just​ 2008, as a result of an undetected heart defect. He was just about to turn 13. The two and their family are ...

INSIDERNJ Dive In: Where the 2018 Congressional Contests Stack Up (RIGHT NOW!)

February 11, 2018

This Guest Column was originally published by INSIDERNJ, and re-published here with the permission and courtesy of INSIDERNJ and its publisher, Max Pizarro.  Max Pizarro is a premier political analyst, respected by members of both parties.  INSIDERNJ is the go-to column for people who want up to the moment political news.

It was nearly a year ago, and a bow-tied U.S. Rep. Donald ...

NJ Audubon: Teacher Naturalist Training

February 11, 2018

NJ Audubon: Teacher-Naturalist Training
NJA Scherman Hoffman Teacher-Naturalist Training Program

Do you enjoy the outdoors? Would you like to be involved in environmental education? We are offering the opportunity to join Scherman Hoffman's environmental education team. As a Teacher-Naturalist, you would teach environmental education programs in an outdoor setting to school and scout ...

Orza: Get the Board of Health Story Right

February 3, 2018

Editor's Note:  This letter, originally addressed to the editor of the Bernardsville News, was sent to TAPinto Somerset Hills for publication.


Sometimes your paper just doesn’t get the news right.  Your story on the recent activities of the Bernardsville Board of Health proves the point.    Contrary to your reporting, Mike Monica and ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, February 17, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art , Bedminster,

Dan Bischoff: Critic As Artist

Sat, February 17, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster

Keepers of the Chroma: An Exhibition Regarding ...

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, February 19, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art , Bedminster,

Dan Bischoff: Critic As Artist