Barlow, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).
This is an action to recover back salary which plaintiff alleges is due and owing to him by defendant Township Committee of Township of Hamilton (hereinafter referred to as Township Committee).
On January 1, 1959 plaintiff Daniel B. Rosetty was duly appointed as the Building Inspector of defendant Township Committee, as then constituted, for the term of four years, with an annual salary of $7,752.00.
On June 29, 1961 the defendant, Township Committee, at a special meeting, passed the following resolution:
"WHEREAS, charges have been made against Daniel B. Rosetty, Building Inspector of the Township of Hamilton in the County of Mercer and State of New Jersey, alleging that he did violate R.S.N.J. 2A:93-6 in that he obtained money in violation of the provisions of said Statute; and * * *
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee that the said Daniel B. Rosetty be suspended as Building Inspector of said Township of Hamilton pending determination of said charges which said suspension shall be effective immediately."
Thereafter, by letter dated July 5, 1961, plaintiff was informed of his suspension, effective that date. He has not been paid, nor has he received any salary from and after that date.
Thereafter, the defendant apparently took no further steps, presumably awaiting the outcome of the criminal charges so instituted against the plaintiff. It was not until March 20, 1962 that the charges against the plaintiff were presented to the Grand Jury, which body declined to indict him, returning a "no bill" on that date. Plaintiff received no formal notice of the Grand Jury's action, although it is clear that informally he was aware of the Grand Jury's disposition thereof.
The plaintiff did not present himself for work or demand reinstatement at that time, nor did the defendant advise or
direct him to return to work following the Grand Jury's determination. Indeed, it appears nothing was done by either party for more than four months, or until July 30, 1962, when, at a special meeting of the Township Committee, the then township solicitor was instructed to prepare charges against plaintiff with an end to effecting his removal from office. The resolution, directing the preparation of charges, referred to the prior suspension of plaintiff and recited that such suspension was due to the fact that the plaintiff had been charged with a crime in that he had obtained money in violation of the provisions of N.J.S. 2A:93-6. The resolution did not, however, make any reference to a further suspension of plaintiff based on the new charges the defendant had directed its solicitor to prepare.
The charges were duly prepared, and were served upon the plaintiff on August 1, 1962. The charges allege that the plaintiff failed to perform the duties of Building Inspector either by:
"* * * willful act or by negligence in violation of the ordinance creating the position of Building Inspector * * * and/or violation of the Standard Building Code of New Jersey and the rules adopted pursuant thereto, which said Code has been adopted by the Township of Hamilton * * *."
Following that generalized description of the charges, there were recited seven specific instances in which the defendant alleged that the plaintiff had been guilty of a wilful act or negligence with respect to his official duties. All of the specific charges referred to alleged acts which took place prior to July 5, 1961, the date of the original suspension of plaintiff.
The charges thus preferred also contained the admonishment directed to the plaintiff that "unless you satisfactorily explain or defend the above charges you will be subject to the penalty of removal from office effective June 29, 1961," which, it will be noted, was the date of the adoption of the original ...