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December 10, 2010

Re:      Civil Service Reforms Advance

Dear Mayor:

Yesterday, the Senate State Government Committee released from committee S-2391, which permits collective bargaining on matters covered by civil service; requires civil service examinations to be offered on continual basis; creates title reduction task force; requires posting of layoff plans.  The companion bill, A-3590, was released from the Assembly State Government Committee.  S-2391 is scheduled for a floor vote in the Senate on Monday.

Tim Gordon, Millburn Township Administrator and Anthony Mercantante, Middletown Township Administrator presented testimony before the committee.  Mr. Gordon and Mr. Mercantante reiterated the need for municipalities to have the ability to opt-out of civil service.  However, they welcome some the reforms, expressed concern with certain provisions of S-2391 and outlined areas still in need of reform.

A summary of S-2391 is as follows:

  • Permits civil service municipalities to negotiate with the majority representative of its employees in areas such as disciplinary review, ways to avoid or reduce layoffs, and terms and conditions of employment.  When a public employer and a majority representative are unable to reach agreement with respect to a particular issue, the provisions of the civil service statutes in Title 11A and regulations will remain in full force and effect.  Any negotiate item would include employees who are currently in the working test period. 
  • Changes the civil service procedures with regard to the establishment of new titles, requires public notice of such proposed actions.
  • Increases the length of seasonal appointments from six months to no more than nine months for a specific list of titles.
  • Instructs the Civil Service Commission to provide for the completion and submission of an application for an examination on its website, The Commission shall provide for the announcement and administration of examination on continual basis. The Commission shall provide for the payment by credit or debit card of any fee for examination application submitted on-line. 
  • Establishes a temporary Civil Service Modernization Task Force to make recommendations, to the Civil Service Commission on how to achieve the goal of at least  33 % reduction in the number of titles in State and local government service that were in effect on July 1, 2010 and how to expedite and streamline the examination process.  The task force will have 6 members: one from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, one from the New Jersey Association of Counties, one appointed by the Governor, and three AFL-CIO representing  State and local government employees in New Jersey, appointed by the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker. 
  • Removes those employees who turn down reemployment opportunity in similar position, job duties, similar hours and within a 25 mile radius of the position from which the employee was laid off from the Special Reemployment List 
  • Extends working test period to 6 months 
  • Requires submitted lay-off plan be posted on the Commission’s and appointing authority website along with the analysis and calculations prepared by the appointing authority to determine the expenditure reductions that will result from the implementation of the layoff plan.  
  • For Shared Service agreements makes it optional for the local unit to provide terminal leave payment, however, permits a collective negotiations agreement to include a requirement for terminal leave payment.

This is another piece of the puzzle needed to meet the 2% tax levy cap.  We still need Health Benefits and Pension reform, COAH reform, mandates relief, revenue replacement funding  and reserve for uncollected tax exemption. 

We are continuing to review the details of S-2391 and monitor any further developments and will keep you apprise of the situation.   If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.com or 609-695-3481 x112.

Very truly yours,

 

Hon. Eldridge Hawkins, Jr.
Chair of Management Reform Task Force
Mayor, Orange
William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

           

 

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