NJILGA - New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys


Attorneys, Professionals, 5k runners, Friends, Law Enforcement invited to Summer Blast Happy Hour & Networking Social
July 15, 2016 Friday
at Bar Anticipation
703 16th Avenue Lake Como/ Belmar, NJ 07719
   Free !
5:30-7:55PM Hot & Cold Buffet
The reduced price Happy Hour is 6-7PM with $1.50 House Drink, Bud/Bud Lt draft & House Wine Special
    Please bring a canned food donation for a community food bank, continuing to provide food and help to individuals in need.

Email Ken Vercammen's Law Office so we can put your name on the VIP list for wristbands.   VercammenLaw@Njlaws.com

Check out the list of other co-sponsors


Lakewood Blue Claws Stadium

The Institute will hold its annual baseball event on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at the Somerset Patriots Stadium in Bridgewater, NJ. Members and guests will enjoy a buffet picnic prior to the baseball game.  Event Chairman Ray Bolanowski reports that the weather will be beautiful that day!  Last date to reserve is July 5, 2016.  This event is located conveniently just off Route 287 in Bridgewater.  Come and enjoy the picnic and game with your NJILGA colleagues!   See attached registration form.


The New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys will hold its annual Day at the Races at Monmouth Park Track, Oceanport, New Jersey on Friday, August 5, 2016 at 12:00 noon. Click here for more information.


Gordon GriffinNJILGA 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.


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.


Atlantic City at night

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 AWARDFred Stickel 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.


Michael A Pane Sr
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
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.


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

Gordon GriffinThe 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.



NJLM Executive Director, William G. Dressel, Jr., was feted at the March 31, 2015 dinner meeting of NJILGA’s officers and trustees in New Brunswick.  NJILGA President Bob Renaud, and Senior Trustee and League General Counsel Bill Kearns, presented Dressel with a Resolution of the Institute honoring him on the occasion of his impending retirement after 41 years of distinguished service to the League, and expressing the Institute’s deep appreciation, as a League affiliate, for his dedication and many achievements on behalf of New Jersey’s municipalities.  See NJILGA Resolution attached. 


Winning jockey, Abel Castellano, Jr., is congratulated at NJILGA’s Day at the Races on Friday, August 7, 2015 by (L to R) NJILGA Past President, J. Peter Jost, NJILGA Member Daniel Bernstein and Karen Bernstein, NJILGA Secretary, Michele Donato and NJILGA Past President and Event Chairman Nick Montenegro.  Members and guests enjoyed a complimentary buffet luncheon and a panoramic view of the track in the air-conditioned Parterre Box.  Winnings and losses are not subject to OPRA !  Many thanks to Chairman Nick Montenegro and his office for their excellent handling of this event.

NJILGA Seeks Volunteers For Amicus Cases


John C. Gillespie NJILGA 2nd Vice President John C. Gillespie has been named the 2015 recipient of the Burlington County Bar Association’s Haines Award, the association’s highest honor.  Mr. Gillespie was recognized at a reception in his honor on April 22, 2015 at the Medford Village Country Club in Medford, New Jersey.

Created in 2007 in honor of the late Judge Martin L. Haines, the Haines Award was established to recognize those who best exemplify the qualities of personal and professional integrity, devotion to the legal profession and legal scholarship, and dedication to the justice system and the people of Burlington County.

Mr. Gillespie is the Chair of Parker McCay’s Municipal and Government Department.  He concentrates his practice in the areas of municipal law, governmental defense litigation, land use and tax appeals.  Gillespie serves as Municipal Attorney in Chesterfield, Cinnaminson and Evesham in Burlington County, and has previously served as Township Attorney to three other municipalities in Burlington County.  He is Associate Legal Counsel to the New Jersey State League of Municipalities; Third Circuit Regional Vice President of the International Municipal Lawyers Association; and a member of the New Jersey Planning Officials.

Gillespie is the 2011 recipient of the Michael A. Pane Award given by the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys (NJILGA), and the 2010 recipient of NJILGA’s Fred G. Stickel Award for excellence in local government and the highest commitment to ethics.  He is also among first-ever recipients of the International Municipal Lawyers Association Amicus Service Award which recognizes lawyers who have done exemplary work to protect and advance local government interests.


NJILGA Past President and Assistant NJLM Counsel, Edward J. Buzak, who represented the League in the New Jersey Supreme Court case decided on March 10, 2015, has written the following analysis of the Court’s decision.  Buzak and Jonathan E, Drill, Esq., who also argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of three municipalities, recently participated in an update and round table discussion of the decision at a meeting of NJILGA’s Trustees on March 31, 2015 in New Brunswick.  Attached are some of Mr. Buzak’s thoughts on the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision. Click here for additional information.
Supreme Court Order


The Annual Meeting of the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys was held on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The meeting was chaired by President Trishka Waterbury Cecil and the agenda included the election of officers, trustees and other regular business. 

Robert F. Renaud of Cranford was elected to a two-year term as President of the Institute.  Other Officers confirmed were:  Ronald D. Cucchiaro of Parsippany, First Vice President; John C. Gillespie of Mt. Laurel, Second Vice President; Richard P. Cushing of Clinton, Treasurer; and Michele R. Donato of Lavallette, Secretary;

Ronald Cucchiaro  

Richard Cushing


The following Trustees were elected for a two-year term from their respective vicinages: Robert Regan (Bergen); Douglas Heinold (Burlington); George Botcheos (Camden); Carl Woodward (Essex); William Horner (Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem); Steve Kleinman (Hudson); Steve Goodell (Mercer); John Kraft (Middlesex); Lani Lombardi (Monmouth) Dominick DiYanni (Morris and Sussex); Gregory McGuckin (Ocean); Michael Pasquale (Passaic); Lawrence Cohen (Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren); William Holzapfel (Union); and Eric Goldstein (Atlantic/Cape May). 

Following the annual meeting, the Institute hosted its annual social event in the Tiberius Room at Caesar’s, during which the elected officers and trustees were sworn in by Senior Trustee William J. Kearns, Jr. 


Honoring John J. McKniff
NJILGA Honors John J. McKniff  -- On December 4, 2013, NJILGA Past President, A. Michael Rubin, Senior Trustee, William J. Kearns and First Vice President, Robert F. Renaud journeyed to Wayne, New Jersey to present a resolution honoring John J. McKniff, Esq. at a meeting of the Wayne Township Council, where Mr. McKniff has served as Assistant Township Attorney since 1988. Read more...

Michael A. Pane Ethics In Government Award To Be Preserved
Michael A Pane Sr
Michael A. Pane Sr.
Michael A Pane Jr
Michael A Pane Jr.

Following the recent untimely death of Michael A. Pane, Jr., arrangements have been made with the Pane family to continue the Michael A. Pane Ethics in Government Award. Read more 

The Diplomate in New Jersey Local Government Law Program of the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys is now being offered in cooperation with the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education. The Diplomate in New Jersey Local Government Law expires in five years from the date of completion of the course requirements of the program. In order to renew the Diplomate, an individual must have completed 30 hours of continuing legal education. A course and/or seminar taken to satisfy the mandatory continuing legal education requirements of the Supreme Court qualify for credit toward the 30 hours. Renewal applications may be downloaded here. Any questions should be directed to Trishka Waterbury Cecil at : (609) 921-6543, or trishka@mgplaw.com

Bulletin Archive


Welcome to the NJILGA website. We use this medium to effectively communicate with our members as well as provide them updated information on topics related to muncipal law. Back issues of the Local Government Law Review are available in the member area of the website. NJILGA also provides opportunities for its members to earn CEU credits at our seminars and network with others in our profession at our social events.

If you have items of interest, comments, changes of content or other topics that you would like to contribute to the website, please contact Peter Jost, directly at peterjostatty2@gmail.com.

Please consider joining us if you are not currently a member. We welcome new members who share our interests.

Robert F. Renaud, President 

What Do You Miss
If You Are Not A Member Of NJILGA?

For one thing, Trishka Waterbury Cecil’s Annual Municipal Law Year-End Review, which contains an outline of 2015’s most important local government cases in New Jersey.  If you were able to attend our CLE programs at the League of Municipalities Convention in Atlantic City, you were able to receive a copy of Trishka’s Year-End Municipal Law Review. 

If you were unable to attend the CLE programs, you can still access the 2015 Year-End Review, but only in the Members Section!  So why not join NJILGA today, to receive this and many other benefits, including: (find out more)

Members Area
Diplomate Certificate Course
New Jersey Municipalities Magazine


NJILGA Trustee Donald Scarinci and Scarinci Hollenbeck have created two valuable online resources:


The Constitutional Law Reporter is a pro bono website, which was officially launched in October 2012. It is an educational tool and a legal resource for students, law schools, and academics who are interested in the United States Constitution, in landmark Constitutional cases, and in the legal analyses of historical and current topics in Constitutional law. Its interactive United States Constitution is unlike anything else on the web. The full text of the Constitution is placed alongside of a plain language translation written by Cathy Travis and reprinted with permission. The creative use of hyperlinks allows the reader to peel back the document in order to reveal its complexities in an easy and rewarding way. The website includes a blog that is updated once a week with articles pertaining to case law or current events.
There is also an external news feed that links to the very best articles from law professors, scholars, and news writers, making the site a valuable destination for people who want to stay current and informed.

In addition to the news feed and the annotated Constitution, the website features an easy-to-navigate listing of U.S. Supreme Court cases, which includes the formal court ruling, the author of the majority opinion, and a separate analysis of the case. The latter provides readers with a succinct overview of the proceedings, as well as the key points of the case and the potential implications of the ruling.


Scarinci Hollenbeck maintains a blog on Government and Law, which was also created in 2012. The attorneys in the Firm's public practice group regularly update the blog with posts pertaining to the State of New Jersey. These articles detail legal updates, policy changes, new ordnances, and other matters involving local government. Please watch the 2 minute Government and Law Introduction video here:

Trustees Raise Dues

Acknowledging the need to balance the Institute’s budget, NJILGA’s Trustees voted at their January meeting to increase membership dues from $100 to $115.  This is the first increase since 2010.  Also increased were dues for additional members from the same firm, from $60 to $75, and the rate for subscription only to the Local Government Law Review, from $100 to $115.  The assessment paid by Officers and Trustees to defray the cost of dinner meetings was increased from $150 to $200.  The increases are effective for 2015. 



Terms of Use   |   Privacy Policy   |   Need Help