Sometimes a municipal attorney may, due to illness, scheduling conflicts, or other reason, send a member of his or her firm to attend a municipal council meetings. In 1998, a question arose in North Wildwood City (Cape May County) as to whether the replacement needs to file a Financial Disclosure Statement with the City Clerk.

North Wildwood’s Ethics Board issued an advisory opinion holding that any replacement professional who attends two or more meetings in calendar year in the place of the designated municipal officer must file a Financial Disclosure Statement. The advisory opinion is at pages 17 – 19 of the PDF file here.

While an advisory opinion from North Wildwood is in no way binding on any other municipality, it may help persuade other municipalities to adopt a similar rule. So, if you live in town where an associate of the municipal attorney attends two or more meetings per year, you may want to point out that North Wildwood would require the associate to file a Financial Disclosure Form and ask your municipality to promulgate a similar rule.

John Paff
Somerset, New Jersey

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]