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March 5, 2009

Re:     Governor Signs Law Officers Suspension Bill

Dear Mayor:

This morning, while attending the PBA Annual Convention in Atlantic City, Governor Corzine signed into law, the bill which provides certain protections for suspended law enforcement officers and firefighters. The suspended officers and firefighters would regain their pay status when appeals of termination are not resolved within 180 days.

Throughout the process, the League adamantly opposed this unnecessary State law which now supersedes local collective negotiation agreements and existing state statutes in both civil service and non-civil service jurisdictions. Prior to the law signed today, the appointing authority had forty-five (45) days to file a complaint on an employee charging him/her with a violation of internal rule and regulations. In civil service jurisdictions, an employee suspended without pay was entitled to a departmental hearing within thirty (30) days and the departmental decision had to be rendered within twenty (20) days of the hearing. An appeal of the decision had to be filed within twenty (20) days. In non-civil service jurisdictions, a departmental hearing had to be commenced within thirty (30) days from the service of the complaint, and the employee could appeal his/her discipline to the Superior Court by filing an application within 10 (ten) days from the date the appointing authority issued a decision on the charge(s).  An employee unjustly suspended and is cleared of any charges is already entitled to remedial relief, including reinstatement, back pay and attorney fees.

Our plea to the Legislature and the Governor to reject this unfunded State mandate, most especially given the extreme economic uncertainties we face, fell on deaf ears.

Upon signing, A-3481/S-1336 takes effect June 1, 2009 and “shall apply to all disciplinary cases in which the underlying conduct occurred after that effective date.

Please contact League office for copy of the new Law.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director



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