April 30, 2012
FROM TIME TO TIME – A Quarterly Report on the Activities Of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, January, 2012 – March, 2012
Here is an update on League activity during the first quarter of 2012.
We have advocated for municipalities in Trenton by …
- Testifying, by League President, Mayor Art Ondish of Mount Arlington, on the State’s proposed budget, before the Assembly Budget and the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
- Backing efforts to provide relief for municipalities from tax appeal and reserve for uncollected taxes requirements.
- Combating a threat that would permit the State to retain CMPTRA, if voters reject a shared service proposal put forward by the bureaucracy in Trenton. We continue to work with the sponsor, Senator Sweeney, to have our concerns addressed.
- Meeting with stakeholders regarding concerns with pending Open Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act amendments.
- Continuing to work with the Civil Service “Title Consolidation” committee
- Participating in the Department of Health and Human Services quarterly Registrar meetings.
- Meeting with the sponsor and stakeholders regarding concerns with pending legislation that would permit the removal of a tenured municipal clerk, chief financial officer, tax collector or tax assessor for the purposes of entering a shared service agreement.
- League President Art Ondish and League Executive Director had several "Meet and Greet" meetings with several members of the Governor's Cabinet, including Brigadier General Michael Canniff, National Guard, BPU President Bob Hanna, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Gary Laningan, Commissioner Department of Corrections, Dr. Allison Blake, Commissioner, Department of Children and Families, David Hespie, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Education, Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, State Treasurer, Bob Martin, DEP Commissioner, Jim Simpson, Commissioner Department of Transportation, Colonel Joseph "Rick " Fuentes, Superintendent NJ State Police, Jeff Chiesa, Attorney General, Mary O'Dowd, Commissioner, Department of Health, Douglas Fisher Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Richard Constable, Acting Commissioner DCA, Dennis Quinn, Chief of Staff, Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Michael Halfacre, Director of Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Bob Czech, Chair Civil Service Commission.
We have advocated for municipalities in Washington by …
- Advocating for continued and increased Federal Transportation funding.
- Urging our delegation to support a compromise to allow continued Disaster Aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after Hurricanes Irene and Lee.
- Supporting legislation that would reallocate the “D Block” radio wave spectrum of the 700 MHz to public safety so there is sufficient spectrum to build a nationwide communications network and, use proceeds from other spectrum auctions to offset the cost of network deployment, operation and maintenance.
- League Senior Legislative Analyst Mike Cerra and League Director BIll Dressel attended the Annual Chamber Dinner in Washington DC.
We have strengthened local leadership capacity by …
- We have held Professional Development Seminars for Municipal Officials on the topics of:
Newly-Elected and Re-elected Official Orientation and Training
Mayor’s Legislative Day
Executive Leadership Training for Mayor’s and Council Presidents
Collection of Municipal Court Fees
Doing Business with Local Government-The Procurement Process and Ethics Rules are Different
Budget Audit and Updates
Leaves of Absences in New Jersey-A Look at the Family Medical Leave Act, Family Leave Act, and ADA Compliance
- Held the 4th Annual Women in Municipal Government Day by honoring the Ready to Run Program of the Center for American Women & Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University. The expanded program included a panel discussion with the Women’s Legislative Caucus – Senator Loretta Weinberg, Senator Diane Allen, Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer and Assemblywoman Alison Little McHose.
- Held a Professional Development Seminar, in partnership with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and New Jersey Business and Industry Association, with vendors on the Local Public Contracts Law, Pay-to-Play Laws and the Local Ethics Law.
- Providing news and critical information to municipal leaders and others in state and federal government though our monthly magazine New Jersey Municipalities. In the past six issues we have included articles by mayors, other local and state level officials and other experts on topics as diverse as the state census, community agriculture, smart cards and shared services. In addition to articles, we provided columns focused on Labor Relations, Legislation, League Services, Legal Issues and Federal Initiatives.
- Convening a meeting, staffedby League Executive Director Bill Dressel and Senior Legislative Analyst Mike Cerra, of the Economic Development Task Force. BPU President Lee Solomon presented important developments involving a broad spectrum of sustainability issues and grants funding for economic development purposes to the over 30 members who attended the meeting.
- Senior Legislative Analyst Mike Cerra spoke at the annual conference for the New Jersey Planning Officials, providing a legislative update to the attendees.
- In April, we convened meetings of the 20 League Affiliated municipal associations to discuss shared services and consolidation with representatives from DCA; and to coordinate planning for the Annual League Conference – the largest municipal conference in the country
- The League staff assisted the State Office of Information Technology and many other partners in planning the Digital Government Summit
We have provided municipal officials with resources for problem solving by …
- Publishing the 1st edition of the 20th volume of Arbitration Reporters in March.
- Publishing an updated Open Public Meetings Act compliance guide.
- Arranging two meetings of our School Tax Reform Committee, Chaired by League Board Member Mayor Gerry Tarantolo.
- Working with the Urban Mayors Association on proposed Tax Sale procedures.
- Addressing meetings of the Gloucester County Mayors’ Association,
We have promoted municipal government by …
- Authoring several op-ed pieces defending the principles of home rule, self-determination, the need for COAH reform, and property tax reform. Multiple pieces ran in the Newark Star-Ledger, the Trenton Times, the Asbury Park Press, the Bergen Record and across the State.
- Producing regular Media Alerts to the press, covering every aspect of new public policy developments in Trenton.
- Encouraging all state and local officials to follow us on Twitter. You can now follow the League on Twitter (http://twitter.com/NJ_League)
- League special committees and task forces and other initiatives.
- Posting video commentary to the League web site regarding the League efforts at management reform and the League response to the State budget.
- Deputing League Executive Director Bill Dressel to speak before the Ocean County Mayors Association in Toms River and Morris County League in Whippany.
- Participating in Editorial Board meetings with the Times of Trenton, the Home News, the Asbury Park Press, the Newark Star-Ledger and the Burlington County Times, to promote the restoration of municipal property tax relief funding.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.