Monday, December 13, 2010


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a republican is demanding that any civil service reform bill include a provision to allow towns to opt out of the system entirely. Today, the State Senate and General Assembly approved a bill that does make it easier for muncipalities to fire public employees and it does help cut the red tape for towns seeking to share services or merge, but it does not include an opt out clause.

The bill passed both houses along party lines without a single republican voting in favor. Democrats say allowing towns to stay in the civil service system protects against abuse and ensures that public workers don't have to worry about losing their jobs if a mayor of a different political party wins an election. Republicans say there is no proof that employees are being hurt by partisan politics in the over 300 towns that are not currently in the system.

Christie has threatened to conditionally veto the bill leading some insiders to speculate that he will do just that and then call the legislature into a special session to hammer out a deal through the holiday season. The Governor insists that real reform is needed to help mayors stay under the new two-percent cap on property tax increases which goes into effect next month. Stay tuned.

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