Thomas Mahoney has accepted the position as the first General Counsel to the College, effective Nov. 26. The General Counsel is part of College president R. Barbara Gitenstein’s senior leadership team, which is responsible for oversight of all legal matters including compliance, affirmative action and related complaint investigations. Mahoney will also serve as the College’s Ethics Liaison Officer to the New Jersey Office of the Attorneys General.
“A General Counsel should be able to provide a particular legal expertise to the decisions of the leadership of the College, allowing us to protect the interests of the community as we realize our ambitious mission,” Gitenstein said.
The College has never had a General Counsel before. A Director of Legal Affairs held this position before it was cut during the major staff cuts several years ago. The responsibilities were then given to different individuals around campus, until now.
“The responsibilities are better handled in one office than scattered across several offices,” Gitenstein said.
These responsibilities include development and promulgation of compliance policies and procedures, risk assessment and gap analysis for the development of appropriate controls and systems, proactive assessment of compliance issues and complaints, development of compliance education and training programs and monitoring of legislation to ensure the College’s compliance with legal obligations including financial management,ethics, employment, contracting and taxation.
Mahoney was selected from a pool of over 100 applicants.
The position of general counsel had several requirements: a Juris Doctorate, to hold or be eligible for licensure in New Jersey and seven to 10 years legal experience, at least three of which had to be in education, higher education, the public sector or a related field.
“(The College) is a special place. It enjoys academic prestige and the devotion of its constituents. I believe in the mission of (the College) as a public institution with standards of excellence,” Mahoney said.
Mahoney feels he has the “requisite fundamental skill sets for a general counsel.”
He has previously served as deputy General Counsel at Villanova University and as associate university counsel at Temple University.
Mahoney has held the position of senior attorney/section chief at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in South Brunswick.
He is also admitted to the bar in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
“This background provides me with a comprehensive understanding of my client’s needs and goals and has prepared me to handle multiple tasks in a fast-paced dynamic environment,” Mahoney said.
He aims to analyze complex legal problems, communicate issues and options to his clients and work closely with his clients to develop resourceful and creative solutions.
In a statement released by Gitenstein to the College community, Mahoney said, “I am excited to join the College … community and have the opportunity to work with the College’s talented faculty and staff under the dynamic leadership of President Gitenstein and the Board of Trustees.”
Gitenstein believes there are “exponentially growing expectations” in the areas of institutional legal advice, affirmative action and compliance and oversight of internal controls at the College.
“We were concerned that without an individual with this particular expertise, the College would be vulnerable to more risk,” Gitenstein said. “I was particularly interested in hiring an individual who understood the culture of a residential institution and embraced the special mission of the College.”