Mr. Cunningham is a Partner in Archer’s Red Bank office where he focuses his practice in the areas of Public Affairs and Public Finance. Prior to joining the firm, he served as the Director of the Division of Local Government Services within the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and Chairperson of the State’s Local Finance Board. Through this regulatory oversight role, Mr. Cunningham has become one of the most prominent voices in New Jersey’s local government and public finance communities as he was responsible for the State’s oversight of its 565 municipalities, 21 counties and numerous other authorities, commissions and fire districts. Mr. Cunningham also has unique experience working with New Jersey’s Local Government Ethics Law, having led the Local Finance Board’s investigations of complaints filed against local officials along with the determination of violations and associated financial penalties.
As Chairman of the Local Finance Board, he led the Board’s review of financing applications submitted by New Jersey counties, municipalities, authorities and fire districts. Applications routinely submitted for approval or positive findings by the Board during Mr. Cunningham’s tenure included:
- Proposed fire district project financings
- Issuance of Refunding Bonds
- Pooled note and bond programs
- Energy Improvement Savings Bonds
- Redevelopment Area Bonds (RABs)
- Financings undertaken by County Improvement Authorities
- Issuance of bonds under the Qualified Bond Act
- Requests for non-conforming maturity schedules
- Waivers of down payment requirements
- Guarantees of credit
- Rental Assistance Demonstration Bonds
Mr. Cunningham has particular experience providing assistance to – and developing solutions for – financially challenged municipalities. Through his oversight of those New Jersey municipalities receiving discretionary aid through the State budget, Mr. Cunningham oversaw collective bargaining, procurement, contracting and budgets of New Jersey’s largest urban centers including Newark, Paterson, Camden and Trenton. Additionally, he was granted sweeping powers over the City of Atlantic City pursuant to the legislative passage of the Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act. As the person charged with the day-to-day operations of the City, he assembled a team and helped lead the successful reduction of the City’s legacy debt (largely made-up of unfunded tax appeal judgments), established new collective bargaining agreements for the City’s workforce and was able to pass two successive budgets that contained no increase in the municipal tax rate.
Mr. Cunningham was previously Assistant Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs where he was part of a team that oversaw the Department’s Superstorm Sandy recovery effects. Mr. Cunningham had also served in various policy positions within the Office of the Governor where he advised the Governor, Lt. Governor, and cabinet officials on policy matters for key executive branch departments and agencies. Most notably, Mr. Cunningham had a leading role in the State’s response to Superstorm Sandy – acting as the policy liaison between the State and FEMA. He was also among the architects of the Camden County Regional Police Department; a county police force established to replace and improve upon the City’s police force. Further, Mr. Cunningham helped draft the State’s revised personal injury protection insurance regulations and aided in efforts to reform and stabilize the New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Fund. He was also appointed to the State’s Interest Arbitration Task Force by former Governor Christie.
As Director of the Division of Local Government Services, he was a frequent speaker on matters involving local government; a role he continues to embrace at Archer & Greiner.
Mr. Cunningham earned his Juris Doctor from the Rutgers University School of Law – Camden, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and MBA from Rider University. He is a member of the New Jersey bar.