87 N.J.L.J. 297
May 14, 1964
Conflict of Interests
Councilman - School Board Attorney
The following inquiry has been submitted for our opinion:
If one member of a law firm is a
councilman in a municipality, can another
member of the firm become the attorney for the
board of education of the same municipality?
The board of education in this municipality is
an elected body and selects its own employees
without any consent or approval of the
Under the facts stated there appears to be no conflict. The electorate of the municipality is entitled to the services of the most skilled people they can secure as councilmen. The inquirer's
partner, being an attorney, is especially equipped to serve on the council and to furnish the public the benefits of his experience, skill and training.
In view of the autonomous character of the board of education in the inquirer's municipality, it is also entitled to the free selection of its own attorney. Under normal procedures, both the council and the board of education, under the facts submitted by the inquirer, operate as distinct and separate entities, neither having any right to interfere with the other. See Botkin v. Westwood, 52 N.J. Super. 416 (App. Div. 1958).