Mr. Cunningham brings nearly twenty years of New Jersey governmental experience - at all levels - to Archer Public Affairs. Having held positions within the administrations of both major political parties, Mr. Cunningham has established himself as a bi-partisan problem solver and an expert on the issues surrounding the administration of local government within the State of New Jersey.
Prior to joining the firm, he most recently 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. Appointed to this regulatory oversight role by then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and retained in the position by current Lt. Governor Shelia Oliver, Mr. Cunningham has become one of the most prominent voices in New Jersey’s local government community as he was responsible for the State’s oversight of its 565 municipalities, 21 counties and numerous other authorities, commissions and fire districts. Through his supervision 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 that helped lead the City toward a stable future and was able to pass two successive budgets that contained no increase in the municipal tax rate. 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. He was also appointed to the State’s Interest Arbitration Task Force by former Governor Christie.
Prior to his work at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Mr. Cunningham 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. Mr. Cunningham’s policy portfolio included the departments of Banking and Insurance, Labor and Workforce Development, Law and Public Safety (to include the Attorney General’s Office and the New Jersey State Police), Homeland Security, Military and Veterans Affairs, Community Affairs as well as the Judiciary and Civil Service Commission. He further had a leading role in the State’s response to Superstorm Sandy – acting as the policy liaison between the State and FEMA. While serving in the Governor’s Office, Mr. Cunningham was appointed 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 earned his Juris Doctor from the Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and MBA from Rider University.