With A Down Turn In the Ecomomy, Middletown Hires Second Lawyer And Doubles Legal Fees


The following is a letter from Middletown resident Don Watson.

Mr Watson is addressing his concern over Middletown’s hiring of a second Municipal Attorney which would essentially double the cost of legal fees that the Township could incur:

After all of the whining by Republicans about unfunded mandates being imposed on the Township by Trenton, the Republican-controlled Township Committee voted to appoint not one, but two attorneys this year. Their actions do not follow their words, leading residents to assume they are not really concerned about reducing costs to keep our taxes low.

Former Township Attorney, Bernard Reilly, will retain his position on the payroll to perform litigation duties for the town at a rate not to exceed $310K. Mr. Reilly has been the Township’s single attorney for the past 20 years. This year, however, the Township felt it necessary to retain Mr. Reilly’s services and hire Brian Nelson, 31, as Township Attorney. Mr. Nelson has only six years of total law experience and no municipal law experience. The Committee rationalized Nelson’s appointment because he works for a law firm that has some experience in this area. It is too bad that Middletown did not hire the law firm instead of its very junior member.

Middletown is not a training ground for future lawyers. This is the largest township in Monmouth County and deserves the kind of representation that does not require colleague oversight. We need someone that knows the game and can come out swinging. Little League players may be future big leaguers, but Middletown is already in the big league and needs seasoned players.

Mr. Reilly and Mr. Nelson have different experience levels and should not command the same salaries. Retaining two lawyers has the potential to bring legal fees to over $600k per year, doubling what taxpayers paid last year for the same service.

Don Watson
New Monmouth, NJ

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Filed under Bernard Reilly, Brian Nelson, Don Watson, lawyers, Legal bills, Middletown, Monmouth County

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