Civil action. Conclusions.
As the result of a referendum, on November 8, 1960, Levittown Township adopted Council-Manager Plan E form of government under Optional Municipal Charter Law, N.J.S.A. 40:69A-1 et seq. On November 7, 1961 the councilmen were elected, and the change of form of government took effect at noon on January 1, 1962. On January 8, 1962 the township council by a resolution appointed defendants George Harrigle, Frank Cuspilich, Seymour Gordon, Joseph Fitzgibbon and Earl J. Applegate to the Levittown Municipal Utilities Authority, and by a resolution fixed their terms of office. They were appointed to replace others who held the offices prior to January 1, 1962.
The plaintiff, George C. Brandau, was holding one of the offices prior to January 1, 1962, by an appointment made on February 1, 1961 for a term of five years, and he contests the right of office of defendant Fitzgibbons who was appointed as his successor. The plaintiff, Richard D. Jordan, as a taxpayer, seeks to invalidate the resolution of the council appointing the defendants.
The defendants allege that all persons in office as members of the Utilities Authority ceased to hold office on January 1, 1962, and the succeeding appointments of the defendants were in accordance with statutory authority.
The issue is before the court on motions for summary judgment.
The authority, established under N.J.S.A. 40:14B-1 et seq. , is a "public body politic and corporate
constituting a political subdivision of the State." N.J.S.A. 40:14B-16 provides:
"Each member of a municipal authority shall hold office for the term for which he was appointed and until his successor has been appointed and has qualified. A member of a municipal authority may be removed only by the governing body by which he was appointed and only for inefficiency or neglect of duty or misconduct in office and after he shall have been given a copy of the charges against him and, not sooner than 10 days thereafter, had opportunity in person or by counsel to be heard thereon by such governing body."
The section of the statute relevant to this issue is N.J.S.A. 40:14B-68:
"This act shall be construed liberally to effectuate the legislative intent and as complete and independent authority for the performance of each and every act and thing herein authorized, and a municipal authority shall not be subject to, or constitute a municipality or agency or component of a municipality subject to, the provisions of chapter 50 or any other provisions of Title 40 of the Revised Statutes, or be subject to ...