In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy and the ensuing statewide gasoline shortage, appellant, the executive director of a regional sewerage authority, permitted some essential employees to fuel their private vehicles from the Authority's gasoline pump. She also permitted a member of the Authority's board of commissioners, who was an employee and authorized to sign authority checks, to gas up his private vehicle after asking him to find food for the Authority's employees at nearby restaurants and to "commandeer" a local gas station to meet the needs of the essential employees.
By permitting the board member to use Authority gas, the Local Finance Board (LFB) concluded appellant violated N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.5(c), a provision of the Local Government Ethics Law (LGEL), N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.1 to -22.25, which provides: "No local government officer or employee shall use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others."
The court reversed, concluding that this provision of the LGEL, unlike others, requires proof of a specific intent on the part of the local officer to secure the unwarranted privilege or advantage. In addition, the court concludes the gasoline appellant secured for the board member and employee was not an "unwarranted privilege or advantage" under the statute.