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October 1, 2010

Re:      Recap of Thursday’s Senate and Assembly Voting Session

Dear Mayor:

Yesterday both the Senate and Assembly held voting sessions.  In a joint effort between the League and the Conference of Mayors, the day began with thirty Mayors meeting with the Governor and lawmakers urging action on the toolkit reforms, especially binding arbitration.  Mayors met with both Assembly and Senate leaders informing them that the new 2% cap is unworkable without the management reforms in the toolkit.  Mayors provided the lawmakers a snap shot of the budget issues that they are facing in developing their 2011 budget and the urgent need for the reforms.

In the Senate, the following bills were passed:

S-2100: Prohibits new employees of certain organizations, including the League, from enrolling in state administered retirement system.  In the 55 years the League has been a member of these systems, there has never been any question of its legitimacy or any accusation of wrongdoing.  However, we recognize that times have changed.  We share the Legislature’s interest in ensuring the long-term health and viability of the public pension and health benefits systems.  We support the bill. It now moves on to the Assembly, where similar (but not identical) legislation – A-2499 – awaits a final vote.

S-2209: Makes the 5% down payment requirement for bond ordinances permissive.  We support this bill, which now advances to the Assembly.

S-2220: Limits accumulated sick leave payment for all local employees to $15,000.  However, an employee who on the effective date of the legislation, or upon the expiration of a contract in effect on that date, has accrued accumulated sick leave in excess of $15,000 will be held harmless at the level.   In addition, any new employee would be fined and issued a reprimand for using six or more consecutive days of accumulated sick leave in the 12 months prior to retirement without a written medical verification.   The fine would be equal to one and one-half time the daily rate of compensation for each day of violation.  For subsequent violations, a deduction of a number of sick leave days equivalent to the number found to have been used in violation of this in violation of this prohibition from the number of unused accumulated sick leave credited on the effective date of retirement upon which supplemental compensation, if any, for the employee at the time of retirement is calculated, or (3) both. We support this bill, which moves on to the Assembly. There, it will likely join its companion (A-3211) in the Assembly State Government Committee.

S-2233:  Provides for early termination of municipal court judge, public defender or prosecutor if an agreement for a joint municipal court or a shared municipal court is entered into. We support this bill, which heads over to the Assembly, where a companion measure – A-3324 – is proposed for introduction.

In the Assembly, they passed the following bills:

A-2844:  Requires that a municipality post its current year adopted budget and the immediately preceding 3 budget years adopted budget on their official municipal website.   DCA would be required to post on its website the budget of any municipality that does not maintain their own website.  Moving over to the Senate, this bill will join its companion (A-2844) in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

A-2911: Requires the transfer of municipal free public library surplus amounts above 20% to the municipality.   The Board of Trustees would be required to adopt a resolution of intent to transfer the excess surplus which must be approved by the State Librarian.  The State Librarian shall approve any resolution upon a determination that all of the following provisions are met:   the municipal free library will still retain a sum equal to the amount of the audited operating expenditures of the library for the most recent available year plus an additional 20% of that amount, excluding funds restricted for capital projects and grants to be maintained as surplus;   the municipality and the municipal free library are in compliance with all conditions imposed by rule or regulation promulgated by the State Librarian for per capita library aid to public libraries according to the "state library aid law," N.J.S.18A:74-1 et seq., and pertaining to appropriations for the maintenance of a municipal free library according to R.S.40:54-8 or section 2 of P.L.1959, c.155 (C.40:54-29.4) in the case of a joint free public library;  there are sufficient funds remaining in the municipal free library's operating budget for the maintenance of the library for the balance of the fiscal year in which the transfer of funds to the municipality occurs; and   the library board of trustees has a written plan of at least three years that reflects that the long-term funding needs of the library will be met, and that any capital expense will contribute to the provision of efficient and effective library services, and that the written plan has been approved by the State Librarian. The bill, which we support, now is positioned for final action in the State Senate.

A-3272:  Permits the re-examination of the municipal master plan every 10 years instead of every 6 years. We support this bill, which will next be considered by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

S-2208: Permit certain organizations, such as the League, to file complaints with the Council on Local Mandates on behalf of two or more constituent members of the organization.

If you have any questions please contact Jon Moran at jmoran@njslom.com, Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.com or Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.com

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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