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The Faulkner Act: New Jersey's Optional Municipal Charter LawNew Jersey's Optional Municipal Charter Law (NJSA 40: 69A-1 et seq., PL 1950, c.210)popularly known as the Faulkner Act, became law on June 8, 1950. The first municipality toadopt a Faulkner Act form of government was the City of Vineland, which adopted a mayorcouncilplan in 1952. The constitutionality of the Faulkner Act was upheld in 1953, in the caseof Bucino v. Malone, 12 N.J. 330, 96 A.2d 669. By January 1, 2003, 127 of New Jersey's 566municipalities had adopted a form of government under one of the Faulkner Act's four optionalplans: mayor-council, council-manager, small municipality, and mayor-council-administrator.According to the 2000 United States Census, these 127 Faulkner Act communities have acombined population of 4,088,757. This represents 48.59% of New Jersey's population. SeeAppendix A for a list of these 127 municipalities.The Faulkner Act grew out of a two-year study by the Commission on Municipal Government.'The Commission was created by the New Jersey State Legislature in February, 1948. JointResolution Number 1 of the Laws of 1948 created the Commission and charged it with the dutyof "inquiring into the structure of local government in this State," and "suggesting in whatrespects the laws of New Jersey might be changed to provide the fullest opportunity for localself-government consistent with the interests of the State as a Whole."The Commission's second report, Local Self-Government: A Proposed Optional MunicipalCharter Plan, published in February 1950, became the basis of the Optional Municipal CharterLaw, which was enacted shortly thereafter. The Optional Municipal Charter Law is commonlyreferred to as the Faulkner Act in honor of the late Mr. Bayard H. Faulkner, former mayor ofMontclair and chairman of the Commission on Municipal Government.We advise, however, that what follows is a general overview of the Faulkner. It is not intendedto be a comprehensive legal resource, nor should anyone take what follows as legal advice. Asa general guide, there are no footnotes and citations. Any individual or municipality that wouldlike to learn about a charter change should also receive advice from an attorney who is wellversedin municipal law.Adopting a Form of Government under the Faulkner Act(NJSA