87 N.J.L.J. 610
September 24, 1964
Conflict of Interest
Attorney to Municipal Parking Authority
An attorney serving as counsel to a municipal parking
authority inquires whether he may properly represent other clients
in the municipal court of the same municipality or before any other
governmental agency of the municipality as long as his appearance
would not conflict with his responsibilities to the parking
authority. The members of the authority are appointed by the mayor
and they in turn appointed the attorneys as their counsel.
While we are aware that under the statute (N.J.S.A 40:11A-1 et seq.) a municipal parking authority is largely autonomous in nature (see Broadway National Bank of Bayonne v. Parking Authority of Bayonne, 40 N.J. 227 (1963)); nevertheless, the authority is by statute "an agency and instrumentality of the municipality or county creating it" (N.J.S.A 40:11A-4). The statute provides that the authority may call upon the chief law officer of the municipality for legal services or may employ its own counsel (N.J.S.A. 40:11A-5).
In these circumstances, we believe an attorney employed as counsel to a municipal parking authority cannot properly represent private clients before the municipal court or before any other public agency of that municipality. We have repeatedly indicated the underlying considerations supporting the governing principle in prior opinions. Opinion 4, 86 N.J.L.J. 357 (1963); Opinion 8, 86 N.J.L.J. 718 (1963); Opinion 18, 86 N.J.L.J. 734 (1963); Opinion 19, 86 N.J.L.J. 734 (1963); Opinion 20, 86 N.J.L.J. 734 (1963); Opinion 24, 87 N.J.L.J. 19 (1964); and Opinion 29, 87 N.J.L.J. 106 (1964).