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July 27, 2010

RE: Mayoral Toolkit Task Force Work Progresses

Dear Mayor:

As July melts away, and August approaches, we wanted to summarize the work  to-date of our Mayoral “Toolkit Task Force,” with a focus on our work with the General Assembly.

On June 28, Speaker Sheila Oliver assigned nearly three dozen property tax reform ideas to 12 Assembly Members who are to review the concepts over the summer in preparation for legislative action in the fall. Subsequent to that, as reported in our July 22 letter Speaker Oliver made Assemblyman John McKeon the Assembly’s point man on mandates relief.

As indicated in our letter of July 20 the Assembly has not yet released a schedule for ‘toolkit’ hearings. We have, however, reached out to those members of the Assembly who have been asked, by Speaker Oliver, to lead the review of issues directly effecting municipal government. Their response has been encouraging. Those meeting will soon begin and you can be certain that we will use this opportunity to share the information and suggestions that you have communicated to us, over these past several months. We will keep you posted of those discussions.

The Assembly Leaders who we have contacted (and their areas of responsibility) include:
Assemblyman John Burzichelli (Shared Services reform and revising fact finder decision standards when awarding a new employee contract to account for decrease in state aid level, effect on tuition and benefits already provided to employees);
Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (Executive county superintendents would be required to implement sharing of school business functions across districts and municipalities);
Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (Arbitration reforms, including PERC selects three arbitrators for union contract from a list of 25, parties then pick one of the three selected arbitrators, instead of parties agreeing to choose a specific name directly from the list of 25 as is currently the case; Arbitrators are mandated to consider the impact of union contracts on property taxes, no such requirement in current law; Arbitrators are barred from making contract awards that exceed 2.5% cap, inclusive of all salary, benefits and other economic contract provisions);
Assemblyman John McKeon (Mandates relief; Revise layoff rules to allow lesser senior, but more essential employees to avoid bumping; Allow a municipality to lay claim to any Gross Income Tax refund (or a portion thereof) of a delinquent property taxpayer under the State's Set-Off of Individual Liabilities program (SOIL));
Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (Pension and Benefit Reform - Eliminate eligibility for State retirement systems for outside groups and associations; Allow furloughs by local government to save costs);
Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (Pension and Benefit Reform -- Cap sick leave and carry forward of vacation for current employees);
Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (Allow counties and municipalities to opt out of civil service by ordinance or referendum signed by 15% of the voters);
Assemblywoman Linda Stender (Public employee discipline reform -- reclassify many offenses as minor to avoid lengthy and costly hearings fro relatively trivial infractions; Allow Civil Service Commissioner to make seasonal appointment for nine months); and
Assemblyman John Wisniewski (Move school and fire elections to November; Require only single sample ballot to each household instead of multiple ballots to all voters residing in household).

If you have any thoughts on particular ‘toolkit’ reforms, or on mandates relief initiatives, please contact Bill Dressel or one of our Legislative Analysts - Jon Moran at jmoran@njslom.com or 609-695-3481 x121, Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.com or at x120, or Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.com or x112.

You can follow developments via our “toolbox news page” at: http://www.njslom.org/2011FY-Budget/toolbox-news.html    Further, we would suggest consideration of the sample resolution prepared by the League, and which can be downloaded at the toolkit news page.

Very truly yours,

Hon James Anzaldi                                         Hon. Chuck Chiarello
Mayor, Clifton                                                  Mayor, Buena Vista Township
President, NJLM                                             1st Vice President, NJLM

 

Hon. Dan Coranoto                                        Hon Janice Mironov
Deputy Mayor, Hampton Twp.                      Mayor, East Windsor
2nd Vice President                                           3rd Vice President

 

 

 

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