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                                         103 N.J.L.J. 495
                                        May 24, 1979


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court


Conflict of Interest
County Prosecutor's Partner
County Adjuster

    The inquirer's law partner presently serves as county adjuster. The inquirer himself may be nominated to the position of county prosecutor in the same county. He, therefore, requests an opinion as to whether it would be a conflict of interest for him to receive and accept such an appointment. The inquirer emphasizes the fact that the county adjuster handles reciprocal support actions from other states as well as commitments for mental health and retardation. He is not involved in criminal commitments and, therefore, he feels that the matters which the county adjuster handles are not related in any way to those which the county prosecutor handles, and for that reason he does not feel that there is a conflict of interest.
    Although there is no opinion which deals specifically with this point, there are several opinions which are analogous. This Committee has dealt with this subject in numerous cases. See our comments in Opinion 189, 93 N.J.L.J. 789 (1970), in which we reviewed in detail the principles which should guide attorneys in their relationship with governmental agencies. See also Opinion 192, 94 N.J.L.J. 44 (1971).

    Opinion 297, 98 N.J.L.J. 126 (1975) is in point. In that inquiry, it appears that the inquirer's law partner had been appointed municipal prosecutor and the inquirer sought advice as to whether he could be appointed as counsel to a nonprofit corporation which had as its object the purpose of building and maintaining houses for senior citizens within the municipality. In that opinion, this Committee differentiated its conclusion in Opinion 281 97 N.J.L.J. 362 (1974), from the facts then before it and found that "there will be no relationship between the inquirer and the municipality, as such, and the fact that his partner is municipal prosecutor will not create any conflict of interest."
    In Opinion 300, 98 N.J.L.J. 126 (l975), this Committee found no conflict existed in a situation in which the same attorney served the planning board and the board of health of the same municipality "except where a particular situation presents a conflict of interest or where a clear, potential for conflict is inherent in the actual functions of a particular board of health."
    In our opinion, there is no conflict or incompatibility in the situation here presented, since the inquirer's activities, if appointed county prosecutor, will have no relationship to the activities of his law partner as county adjuster nor are the positions incompatible.

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