Faulkner Act (small municipality)

The Faulkner Act, or Optional Municipal Charter Law, provides for New Jersey municipalities to adopt a "small municipality" form of government. Unlike the other Faulkner Act forms of municipal government, the small municipality plan is available only to municipalities with a population of under 12,000.

Voters select either 3, 5, or 7 council members or mayor and 2, 4, or 6 council members. Council members are elected at-large. Council serves 3-year concurrent or staggered term. Mayor elected by voters serves a 4-year term. Elections may be partisan or nonpartisan. An organization meeting for the governing body is held on January 1 for partisan municipalities; July 1 for non-partisan.

The mayor is elected by voters or council; presides over council with voice and vote, but has no veto powers; exercises executive power of the municipality; appoints council committees; and appoints the municipal clerk, attorney, tax assessor, tax collector, and the treasurer, all with council confirmation. Council-elected mayor serves a term of 1 or 3 years, depending on whether terms are staggered or concurrent.

The council exercises legislative power of the municipality and also approves mayor's appointees for municipal clerk, attorney, tax assessor, tax collector and treasurer.

Mayor exercises executive power of the municipality. Council may create an administrator by ordinance.

As in all Faulkner Act municipalities, citizens in the OMCL small municipality system enjoy the right of initiative and referendum, meaning that proposed ordinances can be introduced directly by the people without action by the local governing body. This right is exercised by preparing a conforming petition signed by 10% of the registered voters who turned out in the last general election in an odd-numbered year. Once the petition is submitted, the local governing body can vote to pass the requested ordinance, and if they refuse, it is then submitted directly to the voters.

The following municipalities have adopted the small municipality form of government under the Faulkner Act. (to be expanded)

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