Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 48
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
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After Change in State Pension Law, Search Is on for Municipal Prosecutor

Matthew Hersh

Because of a new state law that precludes appointed municipal prosecutors from being municipal employees receiving related occupational benefits, Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, as of the new year, will find themselves looking for a new municipal prosecutor.

Kim Otis, the current prosecutor, whose current three-year post took effect January 1, 2005, submitted his resignation to the Borough and Township effective December 31. Mr. Otis, of the Princeton firm Haveson and Otis, succeeded prosecutor Marc Citron, who served as the Borough’s prosecutor for 13 years and the Township’s for 17 years. Mr. Otis, a Montgomery resident, said he was “not sure” if he would continue to serve as Montgomery Township’s prosecutor, a position he has now held for six years.

In his resignation letter, Mr. Otis offered to help in the search for a successor as well as assisting in the transition process.

According to Borough Administrator Robert Bruschi, “It’s just a change in law where town prosecutors are kept out of the pension system,” leaving prosecutors to become effectively third-party contractors, similar to a public defender, who is not on the municipal payroll. Mr. Bruschi praised Mr. Otis: “He worked very well with the police department and the public and he just did a very professional and good job.”

Mr. Bruschi said he would reach out to the Township, hoping to keep alive a tradition of the two Princeton courts using the same prosecutor. The two towns already share a judge in Russell Annich, Jr.

Mr. Otis gave the Princetons a three-year commitment when he was brought on, and while he said he enjoyed his post, he pointed to a desire to spend more time with his own law practice. “The job is very demanding — to the point where it’s every-day and interferes with my main job which is my law firm and my practice.

“I really have to get back to that,” he said, while adding that he would miss the job. “But I feel it’s time to move on.”

He said he could hold on to his post in Montgomery Township because that municipal court meets at night, whereas the Princeton Borough and Township meet during the day, Monday and Tuesday, respectively. He added that because his practice is located in Mercer County and handles cases within the county, he is often conflicted out of potential cases. Montgomery Township, located in Somerset County, does not pose as much of a conflicting environment.

Mr. Bruschi said Mr. Otis would be missed: “We were very happy to have him here and certainly not happy to lose him.”

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