A code of ethics consists of rules and procedures that government officers and employees follow if they are to act responsibly and professionally. At heart, a code of ethics is about preserving institutional integrity – about citizens having faith and confidence in their government. Government codes of ethics deal largely with conflicts of interest, which are conflicts between the obligations government officers and employees have toward the public and their personal obligations to themselves, their family, business associates and others with whom they have a special relationship.
The Trenton Code of Ethics is based on the New Jersey Code of Ethics for municipal governments. Under state law, the City of Trenton can adopt a more restrictive code, but cannot adopt a less restrictive code than is provided in state law.
In broad terms, the Trenton Code of Ethics prohibits government officers and employees from having an interest in a business organization that is in substantial conflict with the discharge of duties in the public interest, or from using his or her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages. The Trenton Ethics Board also reviews and regulates the filing of annual financial disclosure statements by government officers.
The Trenton Ethics Board does not have authority over many violations of state law or election laws. The Code of Ethics is narrowly focused on conflicts of interest. There are many illegal or criminal activities that do not violate the Trenton Code of Ethics.