September 20, 2010
Re: COAH REFORM, ARBITRATION REFORM AND CIVIL SERVICE REFORM
Substantial progress can be made in dealing with the new 2% levy cap, if we can convince the Legislature to focus on three issues. Those issues are Affordable Housing and COAH, Binding Interest Arbitration Repeal or Reform and Civil Service Reform. Action on these matters BEFORE the end of the year would serve as evidence that State leaders respect your efforts to lower regressive property taxes and deliver high quality essential services to your fellow citizens.
I. Affordable Housing and COAH Reform
As indicated in our July 13 letter (http://www.njslom.org/letters/ml071310-COAH.html), the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee held a hearing, but did not vote, on S-1, prior to Summer recess. We also indicated in that letter that possible amendments and actions on S-1 are expected to occur before the end of the year. But to date, no votes have been scheduled.
Please contact your representatives in the General Assembly and ask them to indicate their strong support for Affordable Housing and COAH reforms. We also urge you to contact the members of the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee. You can access the Committee roster, with links to their e-mail and street addresses and their phone and fax numbers at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/committees/Committees.asp?House=A
For more information on this, contact Mike Cerra at email@example.com or 609-695-3481, ext. 120.
II. Binding Interest Arbitration Reform
As indicated in our letter of August 26 (http://www.njslom.org/letters/ml082610-unfunded-mandates.html) , the League's Unfunded Mandates Relief Committee continues to include Arbitration Reform in its efforts. We also covered this topic in our August 2 letter to you (http://www.njslom.org/letters/ml080210-arbitration.html). The problem was highlighted in a report, which appeared in the Star Ledger on Sunday, September 19, "N.J. police salaries rank highest in nation with median pay of $90,672." You can access that story at http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/nj_police_salaries_rank_highes.html.
We need for you to contact your State Senator and both of your Assembly Representatives on this. You can access a link to your municipality's delegation at the Legislature's website at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/municipalities.asp.
For more information on this, contact Jon Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481, ext. 121.
III. Civil Services Reform
As indicated in our August 17 letter (http://www.njslom.org/letters/ml081710-civil-service.html), the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee has given serious consideration to the need for Civil Service reforms. You can access the testimony of League President, Mayor Jim Anzaldi of Clifton, at http://www.njslom.org/testimony/081610-civil-service-reforms.html. And today in Trenton, the Assembly State Government has invited the League and other interested groups to testify on the need for reform.
Again, we urge you to contact your own State Senator and you Assembly Representatives on this matter. You can also access the rosters for the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly State Government Committee at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/committees/Committees.asp?House=S and http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/committees/Committees.asp?House=A, respectively.
For more information on this, contact Lori Buckelew at email@example.com or 609-695-3481, ext. 112.
For the latest updates on the 'Toolkit" reforms, mandates relief and the 'Best Practices" checklist, remember to visit http://www.njslom.org/2011FY-Budget/toolbox-news.html, the League's "one-stop-shopping' site for the latest news and updates.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.