A motion filed by County Surrogate James Carney requesting payment of $25,000 in legal fees by the County of Atlantic and the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders was denied by the Superior Court of New Jersey Chancery Division on April 27, 2007.
Carney?s legal fees are a result of a failed law suit against the county that challenged the county?s authority to set the salaries of Constitutional Officers? staff members. New Jersey state statute authorizes Constitutional Officers to appoint staff and the county governing bodies to set staff salaries. Constitutional Officers include the Surrogate, the Prosecutor, the Sheriff and the County Clerk.
The suit was filed after the county rejected a request to raise the salaries of two existing employees by approximatety $20,000 each, representing increases between 30-50 percent. The Surrogate contended that the Constitutional Officers should have the right to both request and approve the salaries of their staff. The law suit was dismissed in favor of the county on February 14, 2007.
Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten presided over both hearings.