Recusal is the process by which a person is disqualified or disqualifies him or herself from participation in a matter due to a conflict of interest. Because of frequent inquiries regarding the necessity for recusal, the Commission in 2001 adopted rules N.J.A.C. 19:61-7.1 et seq. The purpose of the recusal rule is to provide State officials with guidance regarding the circumstances under which they must recuse, and to establish procedures for properly effectuating a recusal. The rule applies to: full- and part-time State employees; members of boards, commissions, committees, and authorities; and persons appointed as New Jersey members of interstate agencies.
Recusal is required when:
- there exists any financial or personal interest, direct or indirect, that is incompatible with the discharge of the State official’s public duties.
- a financial or personal interest might reasonably be expected to impair a state official’s objectivity and independence of judgment in the exercise of his or her official duties or create an appearance of impropriety.
- outside employment;
- a debtor or creditor relationship;
- a fiduciary relationship;
- a source of income;
- a matter pertaining to a relative or cohabitant;
- a matter pertaining to a business associate or business investment; or
- a leadership role in a professional or trade organization.
Recusal may be required in other situations even in the absence of such financial or personal interests depending on the totality of the circumstances.
If a State official is requested to recuse him or herself, the State official must seek advice from the agency’s counsel, the agency’s ethics liaison officer, or the State Ethics Commission. A review of the facts and circumstances will be conducted, and a decision will be made as to whether recusal is appropriate. Any oral advice should subsequently be memorialized in writing or included in public minutes so that a record exists.There is a proper procedure for recusal:
- The recusal must be in writing. (See the State's Recusal Statement )
- The notice must contain the reason for the recusal and the date.
- The notice must specify the duration and effect of the recusal.
- The notice must specify the name of the person who will assume responsibility.
- The notice should be disseminated to all affected persons and to the agency ethics liaison officer.
Procurement Resources and Forms
Department of the Treasury Business Ethics Guide:
Personal and Business Relationship Disclosure Form:
Personal and Business Relationship Disclosure Form FAQs: