Gov. Corzine nominated trial lawyer Warren W. Faulk yesterday to become the next Camden County prosecutor, potentially filling a seat that has been vacant for more than two years.
If approved by the state Senate, Faulk, 63, would become the county's top law enforcement official, in charge of an office of more than 200 people.
The prosecutor also oversees the Camden police.
The state attorney general ordered the department's takeover in 2003.
"I appreciate the governor's confidence in me," Faulk said yesterday. "It will be a challenge and, hopefully, rewarding as well."
Faulk, of Haddonfield, has spent more than 35 years at Brown & Connery, the politically connected Westmont firm that represents South Jersey power broker George Norcross III.
Now a senior partner, Faulk concentrates on complex civil litigation, though he has experience as a military and municipal prosecutor, as well as a criminal defense attorney.
He represents The Inquirer and its reporters in First Amendment cases.
The county prosecutor's seat has been vacant since Vincent P. Sarubbi resigned in March 2006.
Two acting prosecutors have filled in since that resignation.
The names of several potential successors have been floated and rejected.
Though Corzine had expressed a desire to nominate a woman or a minority, Faulk - a Philadelphia native and Villanova University School of Law graduate - is not a minority candidate.
"You couldn't get a more honorable person," said Mike Pinsky, one of the deans of Camden County criminal lawyers.
"Given the enormity of the task, I couldn't think of anyone who's better qualified to lead the Camden County law enforcement community," said Bill Tambussi, managing partner at Brown & Connery.
If approved, Faulk would serve a five-year term. County prosecutors make $153,000 this year; they will make $165,000 in 2009.
"It's all new, and that's kind of what's exciting about it," Faulk said. "I've never done public service. . . . I'm looking forward to it."