For the purposes of this Chapter, unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- MUNICIPAL OFFICIAL
- Shall mean a present or former municipal employee, appointee, official, elected official or member of the various boards, agencies and commissions of the Township of Hope whether full or part time, appointed, elected or hired.
Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 59:10-1 et seq. and subject to the provisions of this Chapter, the Township of Hope is authorized to provide for the defense of actions brought against its municipal officials and shall indemnify such officials to the extent permissible by law and hereinafter set forth and shall save harmless and protect such persons from financial loss resulting from litigation. Such indemnification shall arise out of any action or legal proceeding of a non-criminal nature directly related, or incidental to, the performance of the duties of the position or office held by such municipal official. The Township of Hope may indemnify an employee for exemplary or punitive damages resulting from the employee's civil violation of State or federal law, if, in the opinion of the Committee of the Township of Hope, the acts committed by the employee upon which damages are based did not constitute actual fraud, actual malice, willful misconduct or an intentional wrong.
The municipal official shall not be entitled to indemnification or reimbursement pursuant to this Chapter unless within ten calendar days of the time such official is served with any summons, complaint, process, notice, demand or pleading, the official delivers the original or a copy thereof to the Township Attorney. The municipal official shall be obliged to cooperate with the Township in the conduct of the official's defense. Whenever competent and disinterested legal counsel is available to the Township through any insurance coverage, the municipal official shall be obliged to be represented by such counsel. If the Township wishes to use the Township Attorney or the attorney for any board or committee of the Township to defend that action, the municipal official shall be obligated to be represented by that attorney unless there is a conflict of interest. The refusal of the municipal official to cooperate with the Township shall terminate the Township's obligation to reimburse the municipal official.
If the Township Committee determines to provide a defense as authorized by this Chapter, it may do so by:
The Township shall not be obligated to provide reimbursement in the following instances:
Where the act or omission was not within the scope of employment or authority;
Where the act or omission complained of was because of actual fraud, willful misconduct or actual malice;
Where the legal proceeding is instigated or brought by the Township of Hope against the municipal official;
Where the legal proceeding involves a question concerning the election laws;
Where the action is brought against the Township by the municipal official.
The amount the Township is obliged to reimburse the municipal official shall be reduced by any insurance coverage payable to the municipal official by the net amount (that is, any recovery less attorney's fee, disbursements and Court costs), of any money received by the municipal official in any counteraction against the person or persons bringing the action against him.
If the legal proceeding is terminated by an agreement among or between the parties, then the Township shall not be obligated to reimburse the municipal official unless the Township approves the settlement agreement.
If the municipal official files a counteraction in the legal proceedings, the Township shall not be obligated to reimburse for any attorney fees or court costs attributable to such counteraction.
The Township may in its discretion agree to pay the expenses of providing legal counsel pursuant to this Chapter prior to a final determination of the legal proceedings or may elect to reimburse a municipal official only after a final determination of the legal proceedings. If the Township elects to pay the expenses incurred in providing a defense, or any part thereof, prior to a final determination of the legal proceedings, the municipal official shall reimburse the Township for the sums paid out in the event that it is determined that the Township was not obligated to provide for such defense pursuant to this Chapter. The municipal official shall enter into an agreement with the Township providing for said reimbursement prior to payment of these expenses by the Township.
To the extent N.J.S.A. 40A:14-155 provides indemnification to members of a police department, that statute shall supersede this Chapter.
This Chapter shall take effect upon final passage and publication according to law. Any legal proceeding which may be covered by this Chapter which has not been reduced to a final judgment as of the date of passage shall be covered by the terms.