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12 N.J.A.R. 357

Moore, Herbert P.; Community Affairs, Dept. of, Bureau of Regulatory Affairs v
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Citation: 12 N.J.A.R. 357
Decision Date: 1989
Agency: DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS
Synopsis: Petitioner sought to revoke respondent's licenses as a plumbing subcode official and plumbing inspector because of alleged violations of the conflict of interest rule, N.J.A.C. 5:23-4.5(h)1. The matter was transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that respondent, while serving as plumbing inspector for the Borough of Atlantic Highlands, also served as director of a company that was building new homes in an adjacent municipality. This was a violation of the conflict rule, which prohibits an inspector from engaging in construction in the municipality in which he is employed or any adjacent municipality. The administrative law judge cited several mitigating factors, however, such as the fact that respondent was only a part-time inspector, that respondent was unfamiliar with the details of the conflict rule and that there was no evidence of any actual conflict of interest. The judge concluded that an appropriate penalty would be a letter of reprimand and a $500 penalty. Upon review, this initial decision was modified by the Com- missioner of Community Affairs. The Commissioner agreed that the conflict rule had been violated, but reversed the determination regard- ing penalty. The appropriate penalty was revocation of respondent's licenses. The Commissioner held that the factors considered by the administrative law judge were not mitigating. The rule applies to all code enforcement officials, whether they are full-time or part-time, and regardless of salary. Respondent should have been familiar with the conflict rule and, if he had any questions about whether it applied to his situation, he should have sought clarification. In addition, the rule does not require a finding that there was actual conflict. The purpose of the rule is to enhance public confidence in the impartiality of the construction code enforcement system by prohibiting those involved in enforcement from also engaging in construction. Ellen A. Reichart, Deputy Attorney General, for petitioner (Peter N. Perretti, Jr., Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney) Theodore D. Parsons, Jr., Esq., for respondent (Parsons & Cappiello, attorneys)
Rule(s) Cited: 5:23-4.5(h) 1 5:23-5.25 
Citation Tracker modified-Dept. of Comm. Affairs; affirmed -App. Div., A2247-89-T2, 10/1/90 (unreported) [Updated through 1991]