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Robertson v. Washington Township Municipal Utilities Authority

Decided: February 19, 1986.

JOHN ROBERTSON, MAYOR OF WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP MUNICIPAL UTILITIES AUTHORITY, DEFENDANT. THE WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP MUNICIPAL UTILITIES AUTHORITY, PLAINTIFF, V. JOHN ROBERTSON, THE MAYOR OF WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, DEFENDANT



Edward S. Miller, J.s.c.

Miller

[211 NJSuper Page 505] These consolidated in lieu of prerogative writs cases involve a dispute between the Mayor, Council and the Municipal Utilities

Authority of the Township of Washington, Gloucester County, and require the court to interpret a recent amendment to the Faulkner Act (N.J.S.A. 40:69A-1 et seq.), defining and redistributing certain powers between the mayor and council in municipalities governed thereunder. The facts have been agreed to and the parties have stipulated that the record before the court is sufficient to permit it to render judgment.

The salient facts are as follows:

1. The Township of Washington is a municipality in Gloucester County, being governed by one of the alternate plans provided in the Faulkner Act, N.J.S.A. 40:69A-1 et seq., the powers of government being divided between the mayor and council.

2. The Washington Township Municipal Utilities Authority, hereinafter referred to as MUA, was duly established under the provisions of the Municipal Utilities Authorities Law, N.J.S.A. 40:14B-1 et seq. The proper corporate existence of the two bodies is conceded and since both bodies were in existence well-prior to the acts complained of, no further discussion thereof is necessary.

3. John Robertson is the duly elected mayor of Washington Township and his status as such and authority to perform such duties as are properly confided to him is not contested.

4. On January 2, 1986, Mayor Robertson made one appointment for a five-year term to the MUA and two appointments, one for a five-year term and one for a four-year term as alternate members thereof, and, on the same date, those individuals were sworn into office by the township clerk and their memberships certified to the MUA.

5. On January 2, 1986, the Township Council of the Township of Washington appointed, not the individuals appointed by Mayor Robertson, but certain others to the same vacancies as members or alternate members of the MUA.

6. On January 29, 1986, the MUA, by resolution, accepted and seated the members appointed by the township council and

not the members appointed by the mayor, which appointments were rejected. An action to reverse this was brought by the mayor and is one of the two actions consolidated herein.

7. A regularly scheduled meeting of the MUA was held on January 13, 1986. At that meeting, Mayor Robertson presented himself, seated himself at the board table, and advised the board that, pursuant to recent amendments of the Faulkner Act, he considered himself an ex officio member of the MUA and would continue to attend the meetings thereof in that capacity and participate in said meetings. The MUA thereupon filed an ...


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