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Monte v. Milat

Decided: January 8, 1952.

WOODROW S. MONTE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. MILAT, DEFENDANT



Proctor, J.s.c.

Proctor

The plaintiff seeks to have the defendant ousted from the office of Commissioner of the Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken and to have himself adjudged the legal holder thereof.

The facts disclose that, upon the establishment of the above authority on May 3, 1949, the defendant was appointed commissioner for a two-year term and, on April 17, 1951, he was reappointed by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Hoboken for a term of five years to commence May 3, 1951, pursuant to L. 1950, c. 67, p. 121, § 3 (R.S. 55:14A-4).

An election of a Board of Commissioners of the City of Hoboken, a second-class city, was held on May 8, 1951. After

the organization of the new board, defendant's reappointment by the preceding board was rescinded and the plaintiff was appointed in his stead as commissioner of the housing authority for a term of five years commencing June 5, 1951.

Plaintiff contends defendant's appointment on April 17, 1951, effective May 3, 1951, was invalid as it was made within the time prohibited by R.S. 40:73-5, which provides:

"No subordinate board, department, body, office, position or employment shall be created and no appointments made to membership on any subordinate board, department or body, or to any office, employment or position * * * by any board of commissioners or any member thereof in any city of the second class governed by the commission form of government hereunder, between the first Tuesday in May and the third Tuesday in May in any year in which an election of a board of commissioners for that city shall be held."

It is apparent that the effective date of the appointment fell within the prohibited time, and plaintiff's contention is well taken if the office involved is governed by the above statute. Cf. Pashman v. Friedbauer , 4 N.J. Super. 123, 127 (App. Div. 1949). Defendant contends that the office in question is not controlled by this statute in that the housing authority is not a "subordinate board, department or body" in the City of Hoboken.

In order to determine whether there is any merit to defendant's contention it would be well to inquire into the origin of the Local Housing Authorities Law. The United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 1401 et seq.) pledged government funds and credit to assist the states and the subdivisions thereof to remedy unsafe and insanitary housing conditions and to supply decent, safe and sanitary dwellings for families of low income. In order to obtain the benefits of the federal act, the Local Housing Authorities Law, L. 1938, c. 19, p. 65 (R.S. 55:14A-1 et seq.) was enacted, and it was under this law, as amended, that the Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken was established in 1949.

The Local Housing Authorities Law declares that the providing of safe and sanitary dwelling accommodations for

persons of low income is a governmental function of state concern. R.S. 55:14 A -2. Capital funds for the construction of such accommodations are obtained by each authority from the issuance of bonds payable solely out of the funds or property of the authority. R.S. 55:14 A -12. Property of the housing authority is exempt from all taxes and special assessments of the State or any political subdivision thereof. R.S. 55:14 A -20. Each housing authority is a public body corporate and politic and has the power to sue and be sued, to have perpetual succession, to make contracts and other instruments, to make by-laws, rules and regulations (R.S. 55:14 A -7); to exercise the right of eminent domain (R.S. 55:14 A -10); to agree to make payments in lieu of taxes to the municipality or county, the State or any political subdivision thereof (R.S. 55:14 A -20; R.S. 55:14 A -27). The authority consists of six commissioners, five of whom are appointed by the governing body of the municipality, the sixth ...


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