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Thursday, June 21, 2012

IN RE A PLAN FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE COUNCIL ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND PROVIDING FOR THE TRANSFER OF THE FUNCTIONS, POWERS, AND DUTIES OF THE COUNCIL ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, REORGANIZATION PLAN 1-2011 A-6301-10T


IN RE A PLAN FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE COUNCIL ON
AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND PROVIDING FOR THE TRANSFER OF
THE FUNCTIONS, POWERS, AND DUTIES OF THE COUNCIL ON
AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY
AFFAIRS, REORGANIZATION PLAN 1-2011
 A-6301-10T4

 The issue raised in this appeal is whether, pursuant to the
Executive Reorganization Act of 1969, N.J.S.A. 52:14C-1 to -11
(Reorganization Act), a Governor may abolish an independent
agency created by the Legislature that is "in but not of" a
department of the Executive Branch.  As applied here, the
narrower issue is whether respondent Governor Chris Christie
may, under the terms of the Reorganization Act, "abolish" the
Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), an independent agency
created by the Fair Housing Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-301 to -329
(FHA), and transfer the duties, responsibilities and obligations
of that agency to the sole authority of the Commissioner of the
Department of Community Affairs (DCA).

 Strictly construing the Reorganization Act, we conclude
that it does not grant the Governor the power to abolish a
legislatively created, representative, independent authority
that is "in but not of" the Executive Branch or any department
in that branch of the government.  Applying this rule here, we
determine that the Governor exceeded his authority under the
Reorganization Act in abolishing COAH.  Accordingly, we reverse. 03-08-12