Montclair’s Jim Johnson Named Special Counsel To Review Atlantic City State Takeover

Montclair attorney Jim Johnson will serve as special counsel in the Governor’s Counsel’s Office, with the specific task of conducting, in close coordination with the Attorney General, an intensive review of ongoing litigation in Atlantic City and providing recommendations for the process of returning the city to local control.

“Atlantic City is poised for a comeback and I am sure that Jim’s guidance will play a critical role in the growth and economic revitalization of the city,” Governor Murphy said. “Jim has years of governmental experience and knows how to work with tough budgets, traits that will serve him well in this role.”

“This administration is committed to getting Atlantic City back on its feet, and we will do so by working with its leaders, not by stepping over them,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, DCA Commissioner. “In leading our efforts in Atlantic City, Jim will play a vital role in restoring confidence in its finances and future, and will help position the city and its residents to thrive.”

Johnson, who ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination last year, losing to Murphy, is the former undersecretary for enforcement at the U.S. Treasury under President Bill Clinton. In that role, he oversaw agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Secret Service, and U.S. Customs. Johnson is also a former chairman of the board at the NYU Brennan Center for Justice, a former co-chair of the National Church Arson Task Force, and served as a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York.

“The first of many visits to family members in Atlantic City was when I was four years old. I have always considered it to be a special place,” Johnson said. “We’re in a moment filled with challenges and opportunities and I am honored that Governor Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Oliver have asked me to take on this important role.”

Johnson is a Harvard graduate and a former partner at Debevoise & Plimpton. He currently serves as a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. He lives in Montclair with his wife Nancy.

Johnson will be paid $1 per year for his work as counsel.

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