Tuesday, August 20, 2013

North Bergen in-house lawyer with questionable work responsibilities identified.

On page 21 of his report, June 25, 2013 report on "Legal Fees Paid by New Jersey Local Governments," Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer wrote:
When we initially asked the [North Bergen] Township Attorney and the Township Administrator about the job duties of the remaining in-house attorney (the “In-House Attorney”), we were informed that he was paid a salary of $18,807 in FY 2011. They stated that they were unsure if he was North Bergen’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board Attorney or its Tenant Advocate. Following our interviews and a follow-up document request, North Bergen advised us that they commenced an internal review to determine whether he was actually performing any job duties for North Bergen.

Immediately after North Bergen commenced its review and requested information from the In-House Attorney regarding his job duties, he submitted a letter resigning from his position. North Bergen subsequently asserted to us that he had received a salary for unknown job duties without the consent of any Township officials. As a result, North Bergen advised us that it would be referring the matter to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether any criminal violations had been committed by the In-House Attorney.
Yet, the Comptroller's report did not name the In-House Attorney and I could not find any media or other reports that named him or her.  So, I submitted an OPRA request for the In-House Attorney's letter of resignation.

The North Bergen custodian of records returned the letter, click here, which identifies the In-House Attorney as Eric J. Bal of 1435 46th Street, North Bergen.  In the letter, he identifies himself as North Bergen's Housing Attorney.