Municipal and Local Government
Public entities face an ever-increasing number of complex and significant legal issues. Correspondingly, all governmental entities, with sensitive budgetary constraints, must be cognizant of their public expenditures, especially legal representation. MDM&C’s Municipal and Local Government Practice Group approaches each matter with experience, professionalism and a unique awareness of the importance of cost-effectiveness.
In addition to our extensive experience in the litigating labor and employment matters, we regularly handle matters involving the following legal issues:
- Claims Against Public Entities – MDM&C has vast experience in representing public entities and public official in defense of claims under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, or Title 59, as well as under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. Specifically, MDM&C has represented public entities, law enforcement officers and other municipal officials in defense of claims for personal injuries and deprivation of civil rights. MDM&C attorneys have a proven track record of successfully defending such officials and entities, often obtaining dismissal of such claims on motions for summary judgment before trial;
- Actions in Lieu of Prerogative Writs – MDM&C has represented public agencies in defense of Complaints in lieu of Prerogative Writs;
- Local Administration – Among other responsibilities, our attorneys regularly draft resolutions and ordinances to be adopted by governing bodies, and review contracts;
- Drafting Public Questions – Our attorneys have drafted public questions on various issues including secession, redevelopment plans and amendments thereto, renewing municipal Open Space Trust Funds, and other binding and non-binding referenda;
- Zoning and Planning – Aside from regularly appearing before planning boards and boards of adjustment, our attorneys have extensive experience in drafting and amending municipal zoning codes. Our attorneys also have vast experience in defense of claims brought against municipalities involving land use issues. Specifically, MDM&C has experience on claims challenging spot zoning, and the like;
- Public Bidding and Awarding Local Contracts – Our attorneys regularly review bid documents submitted in response to Notices to Bidders to ensure legal compliance with the Local Public Contracts Law, and defend the interests of the municipal bodies in public bidding suits;
- Real Estate Tax Appeals and Revaluations – Our attorneys regularly appear before County Boards of Taxation and the Tax Court of New Jersey. We have represented municipalities against claims of spot assessments and over-assessments. In particular, we have successfully defended the Township of Wayne in such litigation;
- Cable Television Systems – Our attorneys have, among other things, established cable television committees by Ordinance and, by resolution, cable franchise committees pursuant to the Federal Cable Act to monitor the performance of cable franchisees, to report and/or recommend to the municipal governing bodies with respect to the franchise and the possibility of renewal, to investigate the franchisees’ performance in relation to franchise renewal, and to facilitate the complicated franchise renewal procedure;
- Redevelopment – Our attorneys have experience on all phases of redevelopment, from initial blight designation, adoption of redevelopment plans, through appointment of designated redeveloper;
- Interlocal Services – Our attorneys have negotiated agreements between local municipal corporations on subjects such as cooperative purchasing arrangements and shared services;
- Elections – With respect to municipal corporations, our attorneys have advised municipal clerks on their pre-election, post-election and election-day duties and obligations in both partisan and non-partisan municipal elections as well as issues related to Initiative and Referendum;
- Ethics – Our attorneys advise municipalities on all issues related to ethics in government including conflicts of interest, pay-to-play, and the Local Government Ethics Law; and
- Affordable Housing Obligations – Our attorneys are well-versed in the amendments to Affordable Housing Obligations and advise municipalities of fair share housing responsibilities.
Our attorneys also regularly appear before planning boards and boards of adjustment, representing both applicants and objectors. We also handle appeals from decisions of planning boards and boards of adjustment, and we regularly appear before County Boards of Taxation, the Tax Court of New Jersey and the Public Employee Relations Commission.