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Koribanics v. Board of Education

Decided: July 18, 1966.

JOHN KORIBANICS, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CLIFTON ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



For reversal -- Chief Justice Weintraub and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall and Schettino. For affirmance -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Schettino, J.

Schettino

[48 NJ Page 2] We certified before argument in the Appellate Division defendants' appeal from a decision of the

Superior Court, Law Division holding plaintiff, an attorney-at-law of New Jersey, entitled to tenure in the position of counsel to the defendant Board of Education under N.J.S.A. 38:16-1 et seq. "The Veterans' Tenure Act."

Plaintiff is an honorably discharged veteran of World War II. He was appointed counsel to the Board of Education of Clifton (a Class VI Board under N.J.S.A. 18:6-1 et seq.) on February 2, 1959 to succeed Fred Friend, Esquire, who had held the position on a year-to-year basis for approximately 22 years. Plaintiff's term was limited to one year with a second year appointment made on February 1, 1960.

On February 1, 1961 the following resolution was passed by the Board at its regular meeting:

"RESOLVED, that John Koribanics be and is hereby appointed Counsel for the Board of Education of the City of Clifton, in the County of Passaic, New Jersey to succeed himself and his new term to commence February 1, 1961, at a salary of Thirty-Five Hundred ($3,500) dollars per annum, and to serve without term.

It is the intention, by this resolution, to grant tenure to John Koribanics, a war veteran, as Counsel for this Board of Education, in accordance with the provisions of the Veterans' Tenure Act, N.J.S.A. 38:16-1 et seq. "

By resolution dated July 1, 1962, plaintiff's base salary was increased to $4,000 and two years later on July 1, 1964 the base salary was further increased to $4,500. We note that the parties stipulated that in the five and one-half years plaintiff served as Counsel to the Board, he received a total remuneration of $30,801.39, comprising $20,707.14 in retainer (salary) and $10,094.25 in fees for extra work.

On August 19, 1964 at the regular Board meeting a resolution was passed:

"* * * We should continue, however, in our search for further efficiencies and economies throughout the system. * * *

In keeping with these aims, I should like to make the following observations. It is my feeling that there is no need for the continuation of the services of a board counsel under our present arrangement of an annual salary plus added fees.

Clifton's extensive new school building program is finished. The need for the constant attendance of an attorney at every Board meeting is no longer necessary. Our attorney's services can be obtained in the future when needed on a fee schedule ...


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