The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) announced today the appointment of Melanie Walter as the Director of the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS). She will also serve as Chairperson of the State’s Local Finance Board.
“Ms. Walter’s prior service as Deputy Attorney General to DLGS brings a great depth of knowledge to the Department and the 565 municipalities that we serve,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, DCA Commissioner. “Her broad skill set and ability to handle complex legal and administrative issues is a tremendous asset to the Department and we are thrilled to have her on board.”
As Director of DLGS, Walter will serve as an advocate for local government interests while overseeing regulations pertaining to the finances of municipalities in New Jersey to help ensure fiscal solvency. She will also oversee regulations for local procurement, municipal officer certification, and will help to provide strong oversight of distressed municipalities.
Walter wants to increase the Division’s focus on the “services” aspects of the Division of Local Government Services, which entails providing technical and financial assistance in budgeting, financial reporting, joint services, purchasing, and management issues. This also includes building capacity within the Division to assist municipalities interested in pursuing shared services or consolidation as a mechanism to reduce property taxes. She is also planning to expand the Division’s capacity to provide budget consulting, certifications, and grant support.
These initiatives will enable the Division to provide comprehensive management consulting services to towns that need the help. Under Walter’s direction, the Division is also striving to enhance its outreach and education functions, providing more direct educational support to local government officers and professionals.
“Leading the Division after representing it as a Deputy Attorney General is an honor. I am thankful to the Lieutenant Governor for this opportunity,” said Walter. “Since transitioning to the Division in an interim capacity in August, I’ve seen what a dynamic community this is, and been impressed by the vast knowledge and collegiality of both my Division colleagues and our regulated community. Every day brings a new challenge and opportunity, and I am looking forward to helping the Division grow and modernize while maintaining the Division’s longstanding tradition of excellent guidance and oversight.”
A New Jersey native, Walter earned her Juris Doctor from the College of William and Mary School of Law, her Masters in Public Policy from the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy at the College of William and Mary, and her Bachelors Degree in Economics from the University of Mary Washington. She is a member of the New Jersey and Virginia bars.
After law school, Walter clerked for the Honorable F. Lee Forrester in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County. Walter then served as a Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Division of Law’s Personnel, Community Affairs, and Elections section. In that capacity, she served as general counsel to the Division, the New Jersey Historical Commission, and the Commission on American Indian Affairs, handling a broad array of complex counseling and litigation matters for the Department of Community Affairs, the Civil Service Commission, and other state agencies.
For more information on the Division of Local Government Services, please visit: https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/