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Allgaier v. Township of Woodbridge

Decided: September 16, 1949.

WILLIAM J. ALLGAIER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
TOWNSHIP OF WOODBRIDGE, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



Leyden, Daniel J. Brennan and Waesche. The opinion of the court was delivered by Waesche, J.s.c.

Waesche

This is an appeal by the plaintiff from a judgment entered in the Superior Court (Law Division, Middlesex County) in favor of the defendant. Suit was brought by William J. Allgaier against the Township of Woodbridge to obtain an order compelling the governing body of said township to reinstate him in the office of building inspector of said township.

On June 17, 1935, the Township Committee of the Township of Woodbridge adopted a building ordinance by which the office of building inspector was established. The ordinance provides that the building inspector shall be appointed by the Township Committee to hold office "during good behavior and satisfactory service," and that he shall not be removed from office "except for cause after full opportunity has been given him to be heard on specific charges."

Pursuant to the provisions of said ordinance, the appellant was appointed building inspector of the Township of Woodbridge by resolution of the Township Committee adopted on June 17, 1935. The appellant accepted the appointment, which took effect July 1, 1935. He held said office continuously from July 1, 1935, until January 1, 1948, without any further appointment.

On December 31, 1947, the appellant was notified by letter of the chairman of the Administrative Committee of the Township of Woodbridge that his services as building inspector would end as of that date. At the annual organization meeting of the Township Committee held on January 1, 1948, a resolution was adopted terminating the services of the appellant as building inspector, and appointing one Charles Mangione as building inspector for the term of one year.

The appellant contends that, pursuant to said building ordinance, he was appointed building inspector "during good behavior and satisfactory service," and that he could not be removed from said office "except for cause after full opportunity has been given him to be heard on specific charges." Since he was not removed for cause after a hearing on specific charges, the appellant contends that his removal was illegal, and that he is entitled to an order of this court reinstating him as building inspector.

The Township of Woodbridge contends that the section of the building ordinance which gives the building inspector tenure of office "during good behavior and satisfactory service" is ultra vires and void, and that the term of office of the building inspector expires, according to the statute, on January 1st next following the appointment.

R.S. 40:48-1 provides that:

"The governing body of every municipality may make, amend, repeal and enforce ordinances to: * * *

"3. Prescribe and define, except as otherwise provided by law, the duties and terms of office or employment, of all officers and employees; and to provide for the employment and compensation of such officials and employees, in addition to those provided for by statute, as may be deemed necessary for the efficient conduct of the affairs of the municipality;"

R.S. 40:46-6 provides that:

"The terms of office of all officers appointed or chosen by the mayor or other chief executive officer, or by the governing body of any municipality, except to fill vacancies, shall commence on January first of the year in which they are appointed, and continue for the ...


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