NJILGA - New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys

Current Officers

President - Ron Cucchiaro
Ronald D. Cucchiaro, born New York, New York, 1973. Admitted to bar: New Jersey, 1998, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1998. Education: Rutgers School of Law- Newark (J.D. 1998), Rutgers University- New Brunswick (B.A. with honors 1995). Served as law clerk to Hon. Douglas K. Wolfson, JSC. Partner at Weiner Law Group, LLP specializing in local government, land use, zoning and planning, affordable housing, redevelopment and constitutional law. Ron currently serves as Secretary to the Institute of Local Government Attorneys. He has also served as municipal attorney, planning and zoning board attorney as well as special counsel to several New Jersey municipalities including the Township of Manalapan, Township of Howell and Township of Marlboro. Ron is also the winner of the Michael Pane Award recognizing ethics and integrity in local government. He further serves as an adjunct faculty member at his alma mater, Rutgers University teaching classes on local government. Ron is also an associate editor of the Local Government Law Review and serves as counsel to the New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers. Several of his articles have been cited in New Jersey Zoning and Land Use Administration by William M. Cox, Esq. He has also served on several panels and lectured for the League of Municipalities.
First Vice President - John C. Gillespie

Mr. Gillespie is chair of Parker McCay's Administrative, State and Local Government Department. He has represented public entities, as well as land use applicants, for over 25 years. He regularly represents national clients in processing development applications before local land use boards and has lectured extensively on matters of interest to municipalities and developers. He also represents dozens of public entities in defending class action lawsuits, police liability claims, constitutional law challenges, and various other actions against municipalities and counties.

Mr. Gillespie is the 2011 recipient of the Michael A. Pane Award, given by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities and NJILGA and the 2010 recipient of the Fred G. Stickel Award issued by NJILGA for excellence in local government law and the highest commitment to ethics. He is also among the 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. In addition, Mr. Gillespie is a past recipient of the prestigious Robert W. Criscuolo Award, presented annually by the Burlington County Bar Association to a young attorney committed to the legal profession and the community

He is admitted to practice law in New Jersey; the U.S. Supreme Court; the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit; the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey; and the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. He received his law degree in 1980 from Villanova University School of Law and his bachelor's degree in 1977 from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Mr. Gillespie is a member and on the Board of Trustees for Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice. He is also the founding Trustee of the Church of St. Isaac Jogues Roman Catholic Church, in Evesham, NJ.
Second Vice President - Richard P. Cushing
Gebhardt & Kiefer, P.C.

Richard Cushing, of Clinton, New Jersey, is municipal attorney for six municipalities and is assigned by joint insurance funds and insurance companies to defend public entities and their officials throughout the State of New Jersey when they are sued for land use, civil rights, sexual-harassment, RLUIPA, personnel, sewer and water issues. He is a 1972 cum laude graduate of Seton Hall Law School and clerked for Justice Mark Sullivan of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He formerly served as municipal judge for the City of Lambertville and West Amwell Township. He has spoken and written extensively on issues pertaining to public entities. He can be reached at rcushing@gklegal.com. Gebhardt & Kiefer, P.C. Web site - http://www.gklegal.com

Treasurer - Michele R. Donato

Michele R. Donato graduated from Rutgers Law School, where she was an editor of the Rutgers Law Review. She clerked for the Honorable Merritt Lane, Jr., who handled the prerogative writ calendar for Monmouth County.

She currently represents the Planning Boards in the Boroughs of Allentown, Shrewsbury and Roosevelt and is special counsel to several municipalities for land use, environmental and historic preservation matters.

Ms. Donato has represented municipal agencies, developers and citizen groups throughout her career. Her practice is almost exclusively devoted to land use, historic preservation and environmental law.

Ms. Donato is General Counsel to New Jersey Planning Officials and Secretary for the Institute of Local Government Attorneys. Ms. Donato is the Ocean County Chair for the Citizens’ Campaign. She is an Adjunct Professor with Rutgers University, Bureau of Local Government Services, and she teaches and lectures frequently for organizations and agencies throughout the State.

Ms. Donato participated in the prestigious Oxford University Roundtable.  She received the Monsignor Harding Award of Merit from Saint Peter’s School.  The League of Women Voters also honored her with an award for her work in preserving the environment.

Ms. Donato received the William Cox Award for Excellence in Land Use in 2013 and has been selected to Super Lawyers from 2011 to 2016 as a top rated land use and zoning lawyer.

Secretary - Steven P. Goodell

Steven P. Goodell has been an attorney since 1984. He is licensed to practice law in New Jersey and before the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Goodell attended Bucknell University, earning an A.B. with honors in English (1980), and attended the University of Texas School of Law, where he was the recipient of the A.P. Jones Scholarship Award (1984). While in law school Mr. Goodell clerked for the Environmental Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Goodell began his legal career at the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. From 1991 to 1998, Mr. Goodell was an associate and then partner in the litigation section of Picco Herbert Kennedy, in Trenton. With his current partners he founded Herbert, Van Ness, Cayci & Goodell on January 1, 1998.

Mr. Goodell now serves as the Hopewell Township Attorney, Special Counsel to the Diocese of Trenton, Associate Counsel to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, attorney for the Delaware Township Zoning and Planning Boards and Cranbury Township Zoning Board, and Labor Counsel to Montgomery Township. He handles litigation for other municipalities and serves as Special Counsel on Telecommunications Issues for the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. He also serves as local New Jersey counsel for several national law firms.



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