August 17, 2010
Re: Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee
Takes testimony on Civil Service Reforms
Yesterday in Trenton, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Paul Sarlo, continued their work on several bills that are meant to enact provisions of Governor Christie’s toolkit reforms and began discussing Civil Service Reforms. The League was present to provide the municipal perspective on the need for modernized rules and the ability for municipalities to choose to opt-out of Civil Service.
League President, Mayor James Anzaldi of Clifton, along with Mayor Samir Elbassiouny of Washington Township (Warren), Millburn Township Administrator Tim Gordon, Middletown Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante and Wantage Township Administrator Jim Doherty, testified on behalf of the League.
Mayor Anzaldi told the Committee, “In order to properly deal with today’s economy, governments need to become leaner, more streamlined and more flexible, if they are going to be able to continue providing services that the public has come to expect. The current system under the Civil Service rules makes this almost impossible. The present Civil Service rules and regulations make it extremely difficult for a public manager to terminate non-productive employees. It is even more difficult to reward productive employees, to recruit the best qualified candidates or cross-train personnel to meet community needs” Click here for a copy of Mayor Anzaldi's testimony.
“Do we really need a Civil Service Department to protect employees who are protected by a union contract” Mayor Elbassiouny questioned. Mayor Elbassiouny, from a non-civil service township, described to the panel the success of his shared police service, as a lead agency, with a neighboring Washington Borough, a civil service community.
“The request for the ability to opt-out of civil service comes from the frustrations over the inability to reform Civil Service in the past” said Millburn Township Administrator Tim Gordon. Anthony Mercantante, Administrator for Middletown Township, added “Why do you need a state agency to tell you the best way to manage your employees?” “Allow a municipality to withdraw from Civil Service when it makes sense. A town should not be held to a decision made seven decades ago. Permit a municipality to opt-out when it makes sense” said Wantage Administrator Jim Doherty.
The Township Administrators also spoke to situations in which Civil Service rules impeded their ability to efficiently manage their municipalities’ workforce including the ability to retain qualified employees.
In order to manage effectively and meet today’s demands the system must be modernize. Changes must be made to the lay-off process, furloughs, bumping rights, desk audits, employee appeals process, employee transfers, special re-employment lists and rules governing shared services and consolidation of services.
If you have any questions please contact Lori Buckelew at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Very truly yours,
James Anzaldi William G. Dressel, Jr.
Mayor, Clifton Executive Director