CWA Local 1081
60 Park Place, Suite 501
Newark, NJ, 07102
Office (973) 623-1081
Fax: (732) 988-1081

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Newark Teachers Union

New Jersey Citizen Action Oil Group

March 6, 2009


Bruce Nigro, Director

Essex County Division of Welfare

18 Rector Street, Floor 9

Newark, NJ, 07102


Re: Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance

       Alleged Conflict of Interest: Employee Business Relationships with Clients

       Article I. Purpose

       Article VII. Discipline

       Article XXV. Non-Discrimination


Dear Mr. Nigro:


CWA Local 1081 submits this Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance on behalf of all of our members whom now have, and/or shall so desire prospectively to have, a “business relationship with a client of the Division of Welfare” the prohibition of which you today decreed within your attached memorandum addressed to “All Division of Welfare Employees” entitled “Conflict of Interest: Prohibition on Employee Business Relationships with Clients”.


While CWA Local regards Essex “County Counsel’s most recent review of this issue”, our Union decidedly disagrees with “The revised opinion of County Counsel” that “requires that the Division of Welfare alter its policy accordingly”.


The resolution CWA Local 1081 respectfully demands to this grievance consists of the County withdrawing its inequitable and illegitimate fiat, in this regard.




David H. Weiner, President

CWA Local 1081







18 Rector Street – 9th Floor – N         ewark, New Jersey  07102

973-733-3326   ---   973-504-9316 (Fax)





To:                   All Division of Welfare Employees


From:               Bruce Nigro, Director


Re:                   Conflict of Interest: Prohibition on Employee Business Relationships with               



Date:               March 6, 2009



            The Office of County Counsel has recently reviewed the State’s Division of Family Development Instruction No. 08-4-4, titled Local Government Ethics Law, and their related prior Opinion No. 2552. That Opinion concerned a client-employee rental relationship. The Opinion concluded that when a Division of Welfare employee has a business relationship with a Welfare client, it could create an appearance of impropriety but it was not necessarily a conflict of interest dependent on the circumstances.


As a result of County Counsel’s most recent review of this issue which included DFDI 08-4-4, the Office of County Counsel has issued revised Opinion No. 2552a which again addresses the issue of when a Division of Welfare employee has or seeks to have a business relationship with a client of the Division of Welfare. The revised opinion of County Counsel requires that the Division of Welfare alter its policy accordingly.


            Effective immediately, it is the policy of the Division of Welfare that all employees of the Division of Welfare are prohibited from entering into any business relationship with clients of the Division of Welfare because such a relationship does constitute a conflict of interest between the employee’s interests and their public duties and is in contravention of the Local Government Ethics Law (see NJSA 40A:9-22.1 et seq.).


            If any employee has a current business relationship with a Division of Welfare client, that relationship should be terminated as promptly as possible in a manner that is not detrimental to the interests of the client.


            If the business relationship is due to the issuance of TRA, that business relationship must be terminated at the expiration of the current TRA approval period. If the current TRA approval period is to terminate in less than three months and the client seeks continued TRA again at the employee’s property, the TRA and the business relationship may continue for a one time, three month extension only, provided the client is determined eligible for continued TRA and is advised in writing that no further TRA extensions are possible at the current residence. As always, the employee/landlord shall have no involvement with the agency’s decision process to approve or not approve TRA.


In the event that a client indicates that the foregoing policy creates an undue hardship, that client is responsible for providing information to the agency so that an undue hardship determination can be made by agency staff. Any decision to continue a prohibited business relationship for good cause due to undue hardship must also have the approval of the Director’s Office and requires prior review and recommendation from the CSC Administrative Supervisor.


            If any employee currently has any business relationship with any client of this agency, that employee must submit a written memo to his/her Administrator prior to March 30, 2009 identifying the client and explaining the nature of the business relationship. A copy of the employee’s memo should also be forwarded by the Administrator to the Office of Employee Services’ designated Technician.


Thank you for compliance




Xc: Joyce Wilson Harley

      Anibal Ramos Jr.

      Dominic Scaglione

      James Paganelli

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