101 N.J.L.J. 161
February 23, 1978
Conflict of Interest
Municipal Attorney and Prosecutor
Partners Wife of Other Partner on Zoning Board
A law firm engaged in general practice presents this inquiry. The senior partner is the municipal attorney and another partner is
municipal prosecutor of the same municipality.
We are asked whether a conflict of interest may arise if the wife of a third partner accepts appointment to the zoning board of adjustment. We are advised that the members of the firm recognize, even now, that they cannot appear before the municipal council municipal court or any other municipal agency or body of the municipality, including the zoning board of adjustment. Under these circumstances we do not find a conflict of interest to exist.
However, the inquirer also raises the question:
Can it be said that the public would infer an improper relationship
between the common council and the zoning board of adjustment arising out of the fact that the city solicitor is counsel to the common council, and the wife of his partner sits on the zoning board of adjustment?
Whatever inference the public may draw from the wife's membership on the board of adjustment is not a matter for consideration by us. See In re Gaulkin, 69 N.J. 185 (1976).