104 N.J.L.J. 531
December 20, 1979
Conflict of Interest
City Attorney Representing City vs.
Former Governing Body Member
We are asked whether a city attorney may bring suit on behalf
of his municipality against a former member of the governing body
to recover monies allegedly received under color of office. The
attorney received his appointment during the term of office of the
former member. The proposed civil suit involves a claim of
extortion for personal benefit.
We have held that a municipal attorney represents the entire municipality, Opinion 187, 93 N.J.L.J. 649 (1970). On the facts presented we see no impropriety in the proposed representation of the city against a former city official for recovery of monies allegedly due the municipality. The fact that the attorney was advising the governing body when the former member was sitting has no bearing upon this conclusion. Cf. Opinion 187 above where the
mayor and council were in conflict in the exercise of their respective functions and we held that the city attorney should step aside. See Opinion 174, 93 N.J.L.J. 132 (1970).