Tom Fodice, Assistant Corporation Counsel at the City of Jersey City

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Tom Fodice, long-time attorney at the City of Jersey City, is an acknowledged expert on municipal law and a one-man institution. When Smith became Mayor in 1977, he sent packing Jordan’s entire Law Department — except for Tom Fodice.

When I worked in City Hall from 1998 to 2001, I often had the chance to speak with Tom Fodice. One day we were discussing Michael Ventris deciphering Linear B, Heinrich Schliemann discovering the site of Troy and similar topics. Suddenly a series of clerks and secretaries began to rush into Tom Fodice’s office shouting after the manner of Chicken Little proclaiming celestial plummet.

“A POLICE OFFICER IS HERE WITH A SUBPOENA! A POLICE OFFICE IS HERE WITH A SUBPOENA!”

As some serious and urgent business appeared to require Tom Fodice’s immediate attention, I thought it best that I leave. Because of the crowd of Law Department employees that now filled the room, I couldn’t get out the door.

Tom Fodice ignored the little group and continued to talk about whatever scholarly topic had his attention. Finally — appearing nervous — the officer, holding a large manila envelope, approached the doorway. Without looking at the policeman, Tom Fodice simply said “City Clerk’s Office” and pointed down, indicating the first floor.

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