In the matter of quo warranto, &c.
For the relator, Martin P. O'Connor and J. Edward Ashmead.
For the respondent, Francis V. Dobbins and Conover English.
Before Justices Trenchard, Lloyd and Case.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
TRENCHARD, J. This matter is before the court on a demurrer to the plea of the respondent to the information filed by the relator by leave of court.
The pleadings exhibit the following matters of fact:
The information was filed by relator, a citizen and taxpayer of the town of Westfield, to test the validity of the election of the respondent, Roger C. Aldrich, to the office of permanent chairman of the "Joint Meeting," consisting of the municipalities of the city of Rahway, borough of Garwood, borough of Roselle Park, borough of Kenilworth, township of Cranford, town of Westfield, township of Springfield, township of Clark and the township of Woodbridge, organized under an act of the legislature of the New Jersey, entitled "An act to authorize two or more municipalities in this state to jointly construct and maintain outlet or trunk sewers," approved March 15th, 1899, and the acts amendatory thereof and supplemental thereto. At the time of the organization of the joint meeting in November, 1928, Edward S. F. Randolph was a member of the town council of Westfield and was elected "permanent chairman" of the joint meeting, and qualified as such. His term of office as a member of the town council of Westfield expired December 31st, 1928. No question was raised as to his eligibility to continue to act as chairman of the joint meeting until shortly before October 24th, 1929, when a resolution declaring the office of chairman vacant was passed, and an election was held and Roger C. Aldrich, a member of the governing body of Cranford, was attempted to be chosen as permanent chairman to fill the alleged vacancy.
Counsel for Mr. Aldrich, the respondent, correctly state the issue. They say in their brief: "The main question to
be determined is whether, having ceased to be a member of the town council of Westfield he [Randolph] thereupon, as a matter of law, became disqualified to continue in the office of permanent chairman, and hence, that a vacancy occurred which the statute required the joint meeting to fill and which it did fill by the election of Aldrich."
Of course the solution of that question involves an examination and construction of the of 1899 (Pamph. L., p. 48; Comp. Stat., p. 3588) and its supplements. Pamph. L. 1903, p. 36; Pamph. L. 1905, p. 268.
We think that the action of the joint meeting in attempting to remove Mr. Randolph and elect another in his place as ...