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Bergen executive candidate Tedesco issues ethics policy

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

Jim Tedesco, the Democratic candidate for Bergen County Executive, today released an Ethics Policy Paper that he said will guide him and his Administration once he unseat incumbent Kathleen Donovan in the Nov. 4 election.

“Ethics, transparency and accountability are some of the most vital components of government,” Tedesco said.

“Within my first 100 days in office, we will adopt and implement initiatives that will set the standard for ethics in government,” he said.

Ethics in County Government

Presented by Jim Tedesco

October 8, 2014

ETHICS PUBLIC POLICY PAPER

Mission Statement: To provide greater oversight, protect the public’s interest and ensure integrity within the government of the County of Bergen .

Ethics, transparency and accountability are vital components of government.  It is important that Bergen County government be conducted by someone with the highest ethical standards possible.  Below are some of the policies we will pursue and implement when I become Bergen County’s next Executive.

Create the Position of Bergen County Inspector General

The Office of the Inspector General will be created at no additional cost to taxpayers within the County Counsel’s Office.  The Bergen County Inspector General will be appointed with advice and consent of the Freeholder Board.

A.    The Inspector General will be tasked with reviewing all contracts and certify that all proper procedures are followed; that political contributions from  contractors are in compliance, accurate and transparent; and examine any potential conflict of interests.

B.     The Inspector General will review all appointees nominated by the County Executive and ensure that no conflicts of interest exist prior to the nomination being considered by the Freeholder Board.

C.     The Inspector General will investigate accusations of conflicts of interest and ethics violations.

D.    The Inspector General will review all Open Public Records Act requests to ensure compliance.

Pay-to-Play

Protect current county Pay-to-Play restrictions and expand mandatory disclosure to include contributions from federal SuperPacs.

Disclosure of Campaign Forms on the Web

Since all current Resolutions that the County Executive submits has a Campaign Disclosure Statement on them, those statements will now be available to the public on the internet.

Introduction of Anti-Nepotism Policy

It will be the policy of the County that no relative of a county elected official will be eligible for employment within the executive or legislative branches. Additionally, no relative of an employee in a supervisory role can be hired into that department.

Ban on Dual Office Holders on County Executive Staff

In an effort to eliminate possible conflicts of interest and double dipping, County Executive staff will not be permitted to hold public office or be permitted to run for office while working in the County Executive’s office.

Ban Vendors from Serving on County Executive Boards

Anyone working for a vendor that does business with county government will be forbidden from serving on independent county boards, panels or task forces.

Greater Accountability of Employee Time

Bergen County requires its employees to fill out time sheets and report their hours. Unfortunately, with the growth of technology employees working from “home” or “the road” has become more common but no policy is in place that provides accountability in these situations.  Bergen County must have a policy in place to prevent the abuse or rewarding of no-show jobs.

Conclusion

Within my first 100 days in office, all of the following proposals will be implemented with approval of the Freeholder Board.  The residents of Bergen County are entitled to a government that is committed to the highest standards of integrity, efficiency, and accountability.  With these initiatives in place, Bergen County government will continue to set the standard for ethics of the highest ethical standards in government statewide going forward.

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