NJILGA MOURNS GORDON GRIFFIN
NJILGA Past President Gordon Dix Griffin, 96, died on Jan. 29, 2016, in Skillman. Born in Detroit, he was a longtime resident of the Trenton and Princeton areas. After graduating from Trenton High School and Princeton University, class of 1940, Gordon served as a forward observer in the US Army's 119th Field Artillery during World War II. He participated in five campaigns in the European Theatre of Operations, including Normandy, The Rhineland, and The Ardennes. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Bronze Star. Following the war, Gordon attended law school at the University of Pennsylvania on the GI bill. A practicing attorney, he co-founded, along with the late Ralph Mason, the Princeton law firm of Mason, Griffin & Pierson, which went on to become the leading firm in the region it is today. Gordon served for many years as the municipal attorney for the Township of Princeton and the Borough of Princeton. In addition to his service as President of the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys, he was past president of the Mercer County Legal Aid Society, the Princeton Bar Association, and the Mercer County Bar Association. He was a trustee of the Mercer County Bar Foundation. Inspired by and sometimes in concert with his wife of 57 years, the late Sallie Fell Griffin who died in 1999, Gordon volunteered in many community organizations and institutions. He was president of the Social Service Bureau of Princeton, the Princeton Lions Club, the New Jersey Unit of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, and the Rockingham Association. He was a past trustee of the Nassau Club, the Westminster Choir College, and the Princeton Senior Resource Center. Beloved by all who knew him, Gordon was a regular fixture at NJILGA’s Trustee Meetings. His wise counsel and cheerful presence will be sorely missed by all our members.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Princeton Senior Resource Center, 45 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ 08540 or The D&R Greenway Land Trust, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton NJ 08540.
IN MEMORIAM - JOHN J. McKNIFF
John Joseph McKniff, III, Esq., 66, of Wayne Township died Friday, January 29, as a result of complications from Primary Lateral Sclerosis. He was a former longtime Trustee of the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys and Chairman of NJILGA’s Diplomate Program. He graduated from Rutgers (Newark) with a degree in Political Science before receiving his Juris Doctorate from Delaware Law School where he was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. While in college he became the youngest person to run for the office of State Assembly and City Council in Paterson. After graduation he served as the City Attorney in Passaic for 10 years before becoming the Assistant City Attorney in Wayne for 25 years. He served on the Board of the Passaic County Children's Shelter and was President of the Board of Directors of Catholic Family and Community. He was a Diplomate of the Institute of Local Government Attorneys and worked tirelessly to have Municipal Law declared as a legal specialty. In addition, he received the Gordon P. Griffin Award from the NJ Institute of Local Government Attorneys for excellence in Municipal Law. He was proud of his 5 recorded decisions before the NJ State Supreme Court. He was most proud of being known as "The Godfather," because if anyone needed his help, he gave it freely.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Holy Spirit Church or School, 330 Newark Pompton Tpk., Pequannock, NJ 07440 would be appreciated.
NJILGA CLE PROGRAMS AND ANNUAL MEETING IN ATLANTIC CITY
The New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys (NJILGA) presented a full slate of CLE programs on November 18 & 19, 2015, at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Convention in Atlantic City, NJ. A complete listing of the programs presented, as well as the CLE credits, is shown at the link below. Attendees are reminded to go to: http://www.njslom.org/confceu/ in order to print out certificates of CLE completion. Attendees have until May 1, 2016 to print out certificates. The 2015 schedule of programs is attached.
The Annual Meeting of the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys was held on Thursday, November 19, 2015 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The meeting was chaired by President Robert F. Renaud and the agenda included the election of one half of the Institutes trustees and other regular business.
The following Trustees were elected for a two-year term from their respective vicinages: Andrew Catanese (Atlantic/Cape May); Richard Allen (Bergen); Katelyn McElmoyl (Burlington); Peter Thorndike (Camden); Saul Wolfe (Essex); William Ziegler (Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem); Donald Scarinci (Hudson); Rocky Peterson (Mercer); William Hamilton (Middlesex); Dominick Manco (Monmouth) John Jansen (Morris and Sussex); Dennis Gavin (Ocean); Joseph Wenzel (Passaic); Sharon Dragan (Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren); and Bruce Bergen (Union).
Following the annual meeting, the Institute hosted its annual social event at Arturo’s in Bally’s Hotel and Casino, including the presentation of annual awards.
Refreshments, including the Institute’s famous lamb chops and other delicious appetizers were served. The Institute thanks event Chairman and First Vice President, Ron Cucchiaro for his efforts in assuring an enjoyable social event.
JEFFREY SURENIAN WINS STICKEL AWARD
The New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys has conferred its 2015 Fred G. Stickel Memorial Award on Jeffrey R. Surenian. The annual award, which is given by the Institute to a member of the New Jersey bar who has demonstrated excellence in the field of public sector law and has contributed time and effort to advance the interests of municipal law, was presented to Surenian at the Institute’s Annual Meeting held in Atlantic City on November 19, 2015.
The award is named in honor of Fred G. Stickel, III, who practiced municipal law for over fifty years and was counsel to the New Jersey State League of Municipalities for many years. As a prominent member of the public sector bar, Fred Stickel donated countless hours to advance the orderly operation of local governments in New Jersey.
Mr. Surenian served as law clerk to the Honorable Eugene D. Serpentelli, J.S.C., during his first year of appointment as the Mount Laurel trial judge for the central portion of the state by former Chief Justice Wilentz. Since that clerkship over 30 years ago, Mr. Surenian has distinguished himself academically and in practice in the affordable housing arena, and has earned a reputation for integrity. His achievements include obtaining a favorable Appellate Division decision preserving the “doctrine of temporary immunity” to protect municipalities from affordable housing lawsuits, securing the right for towns to secure to affordable housing credits for units not subject to a deed restriction, obtaining a defensible cap of 1,000-units on any municipality’s “fair share” obligation, and defeating builder’s remedy lawsuits on a variety of grounds. He has secured dismissals of builder’s remedy lawsuits on the grounds that the developer failed to negotiate in good faith prior to filing a lawsuit, and by proving that the developer was not the “catalyst for change.” Mr. Surenian has also defeated builder’s remedy lawsuits on the grounds that the subject property was not suitable for the proposed project. His success in preserving the immunity doctrine proved to be valuable in persuading the Supreme Court in 2015 to give municipalities the same measure of protection in a court proceeding that they enjoyed under COAH’s jurisdiction before COAH ceased to function. He has authored numerous treatises and articles on affordable housing law in New Jersey. In addition to representing municipalities throughout the State on affordable housing matters, Mr. Surenian also serves as an Associate Counsel to the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, on whose behalf he recently helped secure a ruling from the Appellate Division preventing the State from unfairly seizing municipal Mount Laurel trust funds.
Previous recipients of the Stickel Award have been Gordon D. Griffin, Michael A. Pane, William J. Kearns, Jr., Stuart Koenig, Edward J. Buzak, Edwin Schmierer, John L. Kraft, Thomas W. Dunn, Robert F. Renaud, Martin T. Durkin, Robert T. Regan, John Gillespie, Kris Hadinger and Trishka Waterbury Cecil.
PANE AWARD TO ROGER J. MCLAUGHLIN
The Michael Pane Award was presented to Roger J. McLaughlin of Wall. Established by the Pane Family and the New Jersey State league of Municipalities, the award is given in honor of Michael A. Pane, Sr., who was the long-time editor of the Municipal Law Review, president and trustee of the New Jersey Institute of Municipal Attorneys, counsel to the New Jersey Association of Municipal Clerks, counsel to the League of Municipalities and author of the New Jersey Practice Series, Local Government Law volumes. It honors a municipal professional who exemplifies the highest standards of ethics and whose work has significantly enhanced the integrity of local government.
Mr. McLaughlin is a graduate of Georgetown University and the Fordham University School of Law, and has maintained a law practice in Monmouth County since 1978. The Senior Partner of the firm of McLaughlin Stauffer & Shaklee, P.C., he has served as counsel in various capacities to numerous public entities and local governing bodies, including the Township of Manalapan, the Borough of Sea Bright, Wall Township, Freehold Township, Roosevelt Borough, the Freehold Township Planning Board, the Sayreville Economic and Redevelopment Agency and many others. He is a member of the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys, the New Jersey and American State Bar Association, the Monmouth County Bar Association, is Chairman of the Local Government Committee of the Monmouth County Bar Association and has served on an advisory committee the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. Mr. McLaughlin has also been active participant in many community and charitable organizations in Wall Township and Monmouth County. He has lectured on subjects related to municipal law, land use and zoning, and has served as an expert witness in those fields.
WILLIAM M. COX AWARD TO KERRY HIGGINS
The William M. Cox Award, established to recognize an attorney or judge who has become distinguished in the field of land use law was awarded to Kerry E. Higgins of McKenna, Dupont, Higgins, Stone of Red Bank.
Kerry Higgins' practice focuses on Municipal Law. She is currently the Municipal Attorney for Freehold Borough. Her Municipal Law experience includes working directly with County Counsel as well as attorneys for several municipalities. She handles general municipal matters including drafting of ordinances and resolutions, local public contract law, tax appeals, condemnations and foreclosures, redevelopment projects, Mount Laurel Regional Contribution Agreements, employment activities, civil service regulations and matters involving NJDEP and the Public Utilities Commission.
Ms. Higgins has a large residential and commercial real estate practice. She also focuses on land use and development, representing both developers and municipal land use boards. Her civil litigation practice includes estate litigation, chancery, personal injury, commercial and contracts litigation.
Ms. Higgins is currently Freehold Borough Municipal Attorney and Sea Bright Planning/ Zoning Board Attorney. She is a Member, Board of Trustees, of the CentraState Healthcare Foundation. She is also a former Municipal Prosecutor and Millstone Zoning Board attorney.
Ms. Higgins is a graduate of Villanova University and the Villanova University School of Law. She is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association and is President-Elect of the Monmouth Bar Association.
LEGAL COUNSEL POSITION WITH CLERK’S ASSOCIATION
The Municipal Clerks’ Association of NJ, is accepting proposals from NJ licensed attorneys to act as legal counsel for the Association for the period from February 1, 2016 through June 30, 2016. MCANJ operates on a fiscal year therefore the initial contract will be for 5 months, renewable on July 1, 2016 for a 12 month period. A copy of the RFP can be found on the MCANJ website. Proposals must be received by December 15, 2015, via email to Denise Szabo, RMC/MMC, 1st Vice President at 1VicePresident@njclerks.org
NJILGA invites Nominees for Griffin Award
The New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys is seeking nominations for “The Gordon Griffin Award”. This is an annual award that has been created by the NJILGA to honor a member of the New Jersey bar who has demonstrated excellence in Municipal Law, exemplary service to the legal profession and municipalities and outstanding community service. Click here for additional information and application.