Bennett: Supreme Court Decision Does Not Apply To His Oceanport Job

Ethics Expert Disagrees

John Bennett. Photo credit: Rhoda Chodosh

John Bennett. Photo credit: Rhoda Chodosh

Monmouth County Republican Chairman John O. Bennett said that a State Supreme Court Opinion written in 2000 by Justice Daniel J. O’Hern that states that the positions of Borough Attorney and Borough Administrator may not be held by the same person does not apply to his job in Oceanport.

In re ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON PROFESSIONAL ETHICS, DOCKET NO. 18-98, the Court ruled 5-2, to affirm an ACPE opinion that Gregory C. Hart could not serve the Bergen County Borough of Old Tappan as both attorney and administrator.

We respect the wishes of the Borough to engage for its day to day management an attorney in whom it has reposed great trust and confidence. Likewise, we respect the attorney who is certain that his integrity would assure an unfettered exercise of judgment in either capacity. Yet we must fashion a rule that will apply equally as well in more demanding circumstances, as in a fast-growing suburban community. It asks too much for an individual to be able to give objective advice to the municipality without being materially limited by the “lawyer’s own interest” as the subject of the inquiry.

For these reasons, we hold that one attorney may not hold both the position of municipal attorney and clerk-administrator for the same municipality. As modified, the advisory opinion of the ACPE is affirmed.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Bennett said he became aware of the Opinion after his appointment as Acting Administrator in Oceanport earlier this month, but that he did not believe it would prevent him from holding both positions on a permanent basis.

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Posted: November 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: John Bennett, Monmouth County, Oceanport | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Oceanport Offers To Take Over Monmouth Park As Transitional Measure

The Borough of Oceanport, home of Monmouth Park, 1/3 of Fort Monmouth and 6,000 residents has offered to serve as a temporary landlord and transitional vehicle of the racetrack, according to NJ.com.

In a letter to Governor Chris Christie , Mayor Michael J. Mahon offered the borough’s resources and commitment to resolve the current differences and provide a new model for sustainability for the park.

The deal to transfer Monmouth Park from state control, under the auspices of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, to a private management by developer and casino investor Morris Bailey fell apart earlier this monthover a dispute between the state and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association over racing date licenses.  On Monday, Christie said the horsemen had a week to come up with an acceptable proposal or risk the park’s closure.

Posted: December 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Horse Racing Industry, Monmouth Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »