Township of Teaneck, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 3158, 7-26-1988, § 2-5.1; Ord. No. 3162, 8-9-1988, § 3; Ord. No. 3385, 3-22-1994, § 3.]
There shall be an Office of the Township Attorney, the head of which shall be the Township Attorney. He shall be appointed by the Council and shall serve for a term of two years, concurrent with the two-year term of the Council making the appointment, receiving therefor remuneration as established by the municipal budget. Notwithstanding the conferral of a two-year term, the Township Attorney shall serve at the pleasure of the Council and may be removed by the Council, with or without cause, at any time. If the Township Attorney is salaried, said salary shall terminate 30 days after the vote of removal. The Township Attorney may be an individual attorney or a member of a law firm; however the appointee shall be admitted to practice as an attorney at law in the State of New Jersey for a period of five years or more.
The Township Attorney shall:
(a) 
Be the chief legal advisor to the Council and Manager and shall give all the necessary legal advice and counsel as required by the Council and Manager, and which pertain to the affairs of the Township.
(b) 
Prepare or supervise the preparation of all ordinances, regulations, resolutions, contracts and other legal documents and papers pertaining to the Township.
(c) 
Appear as attorney-of-record for the Township in all actions or proceedings in any court or before any board in which the Township is a party in interest or in which it may be or become involved, or where the public interest of the Township may be served, and in all actions and proceedings for the enforcement of the Code or other Township ordinances and regulations.
(d) 
Attend all regular, workshop and special meetings of the Council.
(e) 
Supervise the administration of the Office of the Township Attorney and allocate duties and responsibilities to Office personnel.
(f) 
Promptly report the outcome of any litigation in which the Township is a party in interest.
(g) 
Report to the Council the status of all pending litigation wherein the Township is a party in interest.
(h) 
Have the power to enter into any agreement, compromise or settlement of any litigation in which the Township isinvolved, subject to the approval of the Council.
[Ord. No. 3158, 7-26-1988, § 2-5.2.]
The legal assistants shall be assistant to the Township Attorney and, subject to the Charter, under the supervision of the Township Attorney. Said legal assistants shall be attorneys at law of the State of New Jersey, admitted to practice in this state for not less than one year. A legal assistant shall hold office for a term of one year and until his successor is appointed and shall receive a salary as established by the Salary Ordinance.[1] Said legal assistants shall be independent of the Township Attorney in the performance of their legal duties; however, administratively, they are deemed legal assistants for the purpose of submitting vouchers, and they shall submit all vouchers, if any, for review and approval by the Township Attorney prior to payment by the Township; for all administrative assistance, budgetary allowances and planning; and they shall maintain in the Municipal Building or the office of their respective boards all permanent files, including litigation files, and all such files shall be the sole property of the Township.
The legal assistants shall consist of and be appointed from time to time as follows:
(a) 
The legal assistant to the Planning Board, who shall be appointed by the Planning Board.
(b) 
The legal assistant to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, who shall be appointed by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
(c) 
The legal assistant to the Rent Board, who shall be appointed by the Council.
(d) 
The Prosecutor, who shall be appointed by the Township Council in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2B:25-4; who shall serve for a term concurrent with the term of the Township Council making the appointment but in no event more than two years; and who shall receive remuneration as established by the municipal budget. Notwithstanding the conferral of a two-year term, the Municipal Prosecutor shall serve at the pleasure of the Council and may be removed by the Township Council at any time, with or without cause. If the Municipal Prosecutor is salaried, said salary shall terminate 30 days after the vote of removal.
(e) 
The Public Defender, who shall be appointed by the Manager.
(f) 
The legal assistant to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, who shall be the Public Defender, except as otherwise set forth by law or this Code.
(g) 
The legal assistant for labor matters, who shall be appointed by the Council.
(h) 
The legal assistant to the Redevelopment Agency,[2] who shall be appointed by the Council.
[2]
Editor's Note: The Township abolished the Teaneck Redevelopment Agency by Ord. No. 4060 and transferred all powers, rights, duties and obligations to the Township Council pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-4.
(i) 
The legal assistant to the Historic Preservation Commission, who shall be appointed by the Council.
(j) 
The legal assistant to the Ethics Board, who shall be appointed by the Ethics Board.
[Ord. No. 3158, 7-26-1988, § 2-5.3; Ord. No. 3385, 3-22-1994, § 3; Ord. No. 3399, 8-9-1994, § 2; Ord. No. 3907, 9-6-2005, § 1.]
[1]
Editor's Note: Salary Ordinances are on file in the office of the Township Clerk.
The legal assistants shall perform such duties as may be required by the respective board or body to which they are assigned and, subject to the Charter, as may be assigned to them by the Township Attorney to assist him in the operation of the office in any litigation by or against the Township or any of its departments, boards or bodies or employees, agents, officers, officials or servants arising in the course of and in the scope of their employment; prepare ordinances, contracts, resolutions or other legal documents and review such documents; and provide research, correspondence and maintain proper files, records and office procedures.
(a) 
Duties of legal assistant to Zoning Board Adjustment. The duties of the legal assistant to the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be as follows:
(1) 
He shall attend all meetings of the Zoning Board of Adjustment. He shall furnish legal opinions to and prepare for said Board all resolutions and necessary legal documents.
(2) 
He shall assist the Township Attorney in trial and reference work when requested.
(3) 
In matters pertaining to policy and opinions of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the legal assistant shall have the status of independent counsel for the Board. In all litigation in which the Zoning Board of Adjustment is made a party-defendant, the legal assistant shall defend the suit on the Board's behalf, unless the Township or any official or employee thereof is also made a party defendant, in which event the Township Attorney shall designate defense counsel. To the extent permitted by the rules of professional conduct governing attorneys, one attorney shall represent all Township defendants.
(b) 
Duties of legal assistant to Planning Board. The duties of the legal assistant to the Planning Board shall be as follows:
(1) 
He shall attend all meetings of the Planning Board. He shall furnish legal opinions to and prepare for said Board all resolutions and necessary legal documents.
(2) 
He shall assist the Township Attorney in trial and reference work when requested.
(3) 
In matters pertaining to policy and opinions of the Planning Board, the legal assistant shall have the status of independent counsel for the Board. In all litigation in which the Planning Board is made a party-defendant, the legal assistant shall defend the suit on the Board's behalf, unless the Township or any official or employee thereof is also made a party defendant, in which event the Township Attorney shall designate defense counsel. To the extent permitted by the rules of professional conduct governing attorneys, one attorney shall represent all Township defendants.
(c) 
Duties of Prosecutor.[1] The duties of the Municipal Court Prosecutor shall be as follows:
(1) 
The Prosecutor shall attend all sessions of the Township Municipal Court and prosecute all motor vehicle cases, disorderly person offenses, preliminary hearings and other cases in which the Township is a party in interest.
(2) 
The Prosecutor shall defend all appeals from convictions and other matters adjudicated in the Municipal Court.
(3) 
The Prosecutor shall instruct members of the Police Department in court procedure and assist personnel of the Municipal Court in the matter of preparation of legal papers pertaining to the business of such court.
(4) 
The Prosecutor shall have all of the duties conferred by state statute.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection c, Duties of legal assistant to the Rent Board, was repealed 3-22-1994 by Ord. No. 3385, which ordinance also renumbered former Subsection (e) as Subsection (c).
(d) 
Public Defender.[2] The duties of the Public Defender shall be:
(1) 
The Public Defender shall attend all sessions of the Municipal Court at which his/her cases are scheduled and shall serve as legal counsel to those defendants unable to afford counsel and who are charged with such violation of the Penal Code as shall entitle them to assigned counsel, pursuant to any law or court-mandated rule. The determination of whether counsel should be assigned shall be made by the Municipal Court Judge, based upon uniform, nondiscriminatory criteria established by the administrative office of the courts or, in default thereof, by the Municipal Court Judge, and liberally construed in favor of that right.
As a precondition of assignment of the Public Defender without charge to the defendant, the defendant shall certify his or her financial means, under oath.
(2) 
The Public Defender is also assigned to the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) established under Section 2-158 et seq. of this Code, to assist the CCRB in the formulation of its rules of procedure and assist in the conduct of its meetings, its investigatory function and the preparation of its reports. Despite said assignment, the Manager may retain independent counsel separate and apart from the Public Defender if requested by the CCRB, if it serves its legitimate purposes and if said retainer is within the limits of funds appropriated by the Township Council by annual or emergency appropriations for such a purpose. For legal services to the CCRB, the Public Defender or Special Counsel, as the case may be, shall be paid on an hourly basis at rate established by the Manager in consultation with the CCRB.
(3) 
Each individual applying for representation by the Public Defender shall be required to pay an application fee of not more than $200. The Municipal Court Judge may waive any such required application fee, in whole or in part, if the Judge determines, in his discretion, that the application fee represents an unreasonable burden on the individual seeking representation.
[Ord. No. 3158, 7-26-1988, §§ 2-5.4 through 2-5.10; Ord. No. 3317, 12-3-1991, § 2; Ord. No. 3385, 3-22-1994, § 3; Ord. No. 3398, 8-9-1994, § 1; Ord. No. 3887, 6-6-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3907, 9-6-2005, § 2; Ord. No. 4125, 5-19-2009, § 1.]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection (d), Duties of the Legal Assistant to the Construction Board of Appeals, was repealed 3-22-1994 by Ord. No. 3385, which ordinance also renumbered former Subsection (f) as Subsection (d).
[Ord. No. 3158, 7-26-1988, § 2-5.11.]
All papers and documents pertaining to Township legal matters shall remain the property of the Township, and, when any member of the Legal Department ceases to be such a member, he shall return all such papers and documents to the Township.
[Ord. No. 3158, 7-26-1988, § 2-5.12; Ord. No. 3385, 3-22-1994, § 3.]
The Council may authorize by resolution the payment of extra compensation to the Township Attorney and legal assistants in the handling of any case pending in any court or before any board or agency or which requires an extraordinary amount of time. Any such extra compensation shall be paid at an hourly rate and not, if the Attorney is salaried, as an addition to base salary. The rate of hourly compensation shall be established at the time the Attorney's services are authorized, by resolution of the Council.
[Ord. No. 3385, 3-22-1994, § 3.]
At the time of appointment, the appointing authority shall determine whether the Township Attorney and/or any legal assistant shall be compensated as an independent contractor or as a salaried employee.
[Ord. No. 3158, 7-26-1988, § 2-5.13.]
When any Township legal duty of a member of the Legal Department shall require his presence outside of the Township, his reasonable traveling expenses shall be paid. He shall also be reimbursed for all filing fees and other disbursements necessary in the handling of the Township's legal affairs.
[Ord. No. 3158, 7-26-1988, § 2-5.14; Ord. No. 3385, 3-22-1994, § 3.]
The Township Attorney may, with the consent of the Council, engage the services of expert witnesses and special counsel when, in his opinion, such action is necessary in connection with the handling of any legal business of the Township. Reasonable fees for such witnesses and special counsel shall be paid at a rate established at the time of authorization and by resolution of the Council.
[Ord. No. 3158, 7-26-1988, § 2-5.16; Ord. No. 3385, 3-22-1994, § 3.]
In the event that the Township Attorney and/or any legal assistant is a member of a law firm, the name of the firm may appear as attorney of record for the Township in all actions or proceedings. In a specific case, and without regularity, any member of the firm may appear on behalf of the Township Attorney or a legal assistant; however, no additional compensation will be paid relative to such appearances.
Temporary absence or disqualification; appointment of independent attorney and compensation therefor.
(a) 
In the event that any attorney employed by the Township can not perform legal services because of a disabling accident or illness or because of a conflict of interest, the Township Attorney shall recommend to the appropriate appointing authority, and that authority shall appoint, an independent attorney, except as follows:
(1) 
The legal assistant to the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall substitute for the legal assistant to the Planning Board, and the legal assistant to the Planning Board shall substitute for the legal assistant to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Such substitution shall be uncompensated if it does not involve extended proceedings, as hereinafter defined.
(2) 
The Township Attorney shall substitute for the Municipal Court Prosecutor. Such substitution shall be uncompensated if it does not involve extended proceedings, as hereinafter defined.
(b) 
Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the substitution involves extended proceedings, the substituted attorney shall be compensated at the hourly rate established for such services and to the extent compensation is either budgeted for or subsequently provided by the Township Council.
[Ord. No. 3158, 7-26-1988, § 2-5.16; Ord. No. 3385, 3-22-1994, § 3.]