November 24, 2009
Re: QPA Bill Conditional Veto
Yesterday the Governor issued a conditional veto (CV) of A-1645/S-770, which would have required every municipality to appoint a qualified purchasing agent (QPA).
As you recall, the League argued it was unwise and unnecessary to impose an unfunded mandate on beleaguered taxpayers when we are being told to prioritize and do more with less. The Department of Community Affairs, the agency required under the bill to implement training and certification, testified in opposition to A-1645 and its Senate counterpart, S-770 as an unworkable mandate. DCA’s Commissioner had also asked the sponsors to defer action on this mandate at this time.
This legislation does not in any way change the procurement process nor does it provide any new or additional capabilities to assist towns in improving purchasing functions.
While the bill was not outright vetoed, your efforts made a difference, as it appears that the conditional veto mitigates objectionable portions of the bill.
In the CV the Governor stated that he supports the concept of the bill, which is intended to professionalize the purchasing function. However, the currently drafted bill “does not adequately address the substantive issues raised throughout the legislative process by the Division of Local Government Services…as well as some of the legitimate concerns identified by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities and the dozens of individual local units that passed resolutions expressing opposition to this bill.”
We are reviewing the CV language, but one of the purposes of the recommendations is to “appropriately accommodate the most significant of these concerns while, at the same time, promoting the laudable goals of the legislation.” Included among the recommendations are:
- New language to make the appointment of a QPA permissive.
- A local unit’s bid threshold will be $17,500 unless they appoint a QPA. This is the same threshold in the Pay-to-Play law.
- Division of Local Government Services will have a year to implement the process to obtain a QPA certification.
The bill is now returned to the State Legislature for consideration of the Governor’s recommendations. We recommend speaking to your attorneys for the impact of this language on your community. Questions can be directed to Lori Buckelew at email@example.com (609) 695-3481 x122.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.