This action in lieu of prerogative writs raises the issue whether a municipality can agree in a collective bargaining agreement to provide dental services to its employees.
The facts are not disputed. On July 2, 1974 the City of Camden entered into two collective bargaining agreements with Council No. 10, New Jersey Civil Service Association,
acting in behalf of the supervisory personnel and the blue collar workers of the city. Each of the agreements provided as follows:
The City of Camden agrees to adopt a dental plan for the City employees effective July 1, 1974.
(a) From July 1, 1974 said dental plan shall cover the City employees only.
(b) During the contract year, January 1, 1975 to December 31, 1975, said dental plan shall cover City employees and their spouses.
(c) During the contract year, January 1, 1976 to December 31, 1976, said denial plan shall cover the City employees, their spouses and children.
On July 18, 1974 the city council adopted a resolution authorizing the city business administrator to enter into a contract with North American Dental Plans, Inc. for dental services for the city employees. Information regarding the nature and scope of the benefits was distributed to the city employees. Pursuant to the plan the employees were treated during parts of July and August at the dental clinic established by North American.
On August 22, 1974 city council adopted a resolution rescinding the resolution of July 18 and discontinued the dental plan services.
The complaint challenges the resolution of August 22 and seeks the re-establishment of the dental plan and damages. The city resists on the theory that because there is no statutory authority for the agreement to provide the dental plan, the agreement was ultra vires. Cross-motions for summary judgment ripen the issue for decision.
In support of its position the city argues that it has no express authority to contract to provide the dental plan. It concedes that it has not only the powers expressly conferred upon it but also those of necessary or fair implication, incidental to the powers expressly conferred or essential thereto. Inganamort v. ...