Jacquelyn Suarez to Lead Division of Local Government Services

  • Posted on: 02/6/2021

Associate Counsel in Governor’s Office Appointed as DLGS Director

TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is pleased to announce Jacquelyn Suarez as the Director of the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS). She will also serve as Chairperson of the State’s Local Finance Board.

“Over the past three years, Jacquelyn’s insight and counsel have played an integral role in our Administration’s efforts to create a stronger, fairer New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “While we will miss her in the Governor’s Office, I’m thrilled to have a professional of Jacquelyn’s caliber at the helm of the Division of Local Government Services at a time when our current pandemic has presented tremendous challenges to local governments throughout our state.”

“We are very excited to have Ms. Suarez return to DCA to lead a division that is critical to the fiscal health of local governments across New Jersey,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “Ms. Suarez is extremely knowledgeable with the work and priorities of the Division of Local Government Services from her service as associate counsel in the Governor’s Office and her years of previous experience as DCA’s legislative liaison. This incredible knowledge combined with her intellect, work ethic, and understanding of New Jersey will allow her to hit the ground running in a position that the COVID-19 pandemic has made even more important than it already was.”

Ms. Suarez most recently served as associate counsel in the Office of Counsel to the Governor where she provided legal advice to Governor Murphy on matters affecting his administration including pending legislation, statutory responsibilities, litigation, the development of administrative regulations, and proposals impacting the Governor’s public policy agenda. She also drafted legislation, executive orders, vetoes, administrative orders and regulations and negotiated with legislators, departments, and stakeholders regarding pending legislation and policy initiatives with a focus on the Departments of Community Affairs, Human Services, Children and Families, and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Prior to her work in the Governor’s Office, she was DCA’s point person for all communication with the State Legislature, including the Department’s official position on legislation and legislative inquiries. She also drafted bill language, spearheaded the implementation of newly signed legislation at DCA, and helped review and advise the Department on decisions, orders, settlements, and other matters that impacted DCA.  

Ms. Suarez is filling a position vacated by Melanie Walter, who became the executive director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency effective January 1.

As Director of DLGS, Ms. Suarez will serve as an advocate for local government interests. She will lead efforts to provide technical and financial assistance in budgeting, financial reporting, joint services, purchasing, and management issues. She will oversee the review and approval of all municipal, county and fire district budgets and many local government financial actions, and will guide the conduct of local government officials. She will also uphold the financial integrity of all local government units and help to provide strong oversight of distressed municipalities.

“I am honored to be named Director of Local Government Services and I’m humbled by and thankful to the Lieutenant Governor for the opportunity,” said Jacquelyn Suarez. “Over the last five years, I’ve seen firsthand the breadth of work the Division ably handles. COVID-19 has brought new challenges to our local governments, which has reinforced the Division’s longstanding tradition of excellent guidance and oversight. In working through the challenges ahead, I look forward to continuing to foster a collaborative relationship between my Division colleagues and our regulated community.”

Ms. Suarez, a New Jersey native, earned her Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law in Camden and her bachelor’s degree in communications, legal institutions, economics, and government from American University in Washington D.C. She is a member of the New Jersey and New York bars. 

For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media:   

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Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan
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