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Code Inspections, Inc. v. Township of Moorestown

OAL Docket No. CAF 10740-98 (Department of Community Affairs 1999)

MUNICIPALITIES; INSPECTORS—The requirement that a municipality’s third party inspectors maintain a full time office implicitly requires an office in New Jersey.

Prior to opening bids to award contracts for third party inspections, a municipality’s construction official and town manager concluded that a particular bidder was not qualified and that its bids would not be opened. Apparently, had the bids been opened, the disqualified third party inspection agency still would not have been the successful bidder. The disqualified bidder argued that only the governing body of a municipality could determine whether or not, had it been the successful bidder, it would have been able to effectively enforce the subcode. Further, it argued that it should not have disqualified just because it did not have a full time office in the State of New Jersey and that the Bureau of Regulatory Affairs had misinterpreted the relevant administrative code provision. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) did not make an analysis as to whether a municipality’s council in a Council-Manager Plan form of municipal government could make qualification determinations. Nonetheless, the ALJ held that the full time office requirement in the administrative code implicitly contained the notion that such office must be “in the State of New Jersey” and those exact words were redundant or unnecessary because they were obviously part of the requirement. Regardless of the substance of the disqualified bidder’s claims, the ALJ held that even had the disqualified bidder maintained a fully conforming office, it would not have received the contract to provide private, on-site subcode inspections and enforcement because its bid was not the lowest for any of the five subcodes. Consequently, the petition for relief was denied.


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