SENATE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR

SENATE, No. 1336

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

  ADOPTED FEBRUARY 9, 2009

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator PAUL A. SARLO

District 36 (Bergen, Essex and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Weinberg

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides certain law enforcement officers and firefighters regain pay status when appeals of termination are not resolved within 180 days.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Substitute as adopted by the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

  

 

 

 


An Act concerning the suspensions of certain law enforcement officers and firefighters, supplementing Title 40A of the New Jersey Statutes and amending N.J.S.40A:14-150 and N.J.S.40A:14-22.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  As used in this act:

     “Law enforcement agency” or “agency” means any public agency, other than the Department of Law and Public Safety, but not including the Juvenile Justice Commission, any police force, department, or division within the State, or any county or municipality thereof, which is empowered by statute to act for the detection, investigation, arrest, conviction, detention, or rehabilitation of persons violating the criminal laws of this State.

     “Law enforcement officer” or “officer” means any person who is employed as a permanent full-time member of any State, county, or municipal law enforcement agency, department, or division of those governments who is statutorily empowered to act for the detection, investigation, arrest, conviction, detention, or rehabilitation of persons violating the criminal laws of this State and statutorily required to successfully complete a training course approved by, or certified as being substantially equivalent to such an approved course, by the Police Training Commission pursuant to P.L.1961, c.56 (C.52:17B-66 et seq.).

     “Paid firefighter” or “firefighter” means any full-time paid firefighter employed by a public fire department.

     “Public fire department” or “department” means any department of a municipality, county, fire district or the State or any agency thereof having employees engaged in firefighting provided that such firefighting employees are included in a negotiating unit exclusively comprised of firefighting employees.

 

     2.    (New section)  a.  When a law enforcement officer employed by a law enforcement agency or a firefighter employed by a public fire department that is subject to the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes is suspended from performing his official duties without pay for a complaint or charges, other than (1) a complaint or charges relating to the subject matter of a pending criminal investigation, inquiry, complaint, or charge whether pre-indictment or post indictment, or (2) when the complaint or charges allege conduct that also would constitute a violation of the criminal laws of this State or any other jurisdiction, and the law enforcement agency employing the officer or the public fire department employing the firefighter seeks to terminate that officer’s or firefighter’s employment for the conduct that was the basis for the officer’s or firefighter’s suspension without pay, a final determination on the officer’s or firefighter’s suspension and termination shall be rendered within 180 calendar days from the date the officer or firefighter is suspended without pay.

     If a final determination is not rendered within those 180 days, as hereinafter calculated, the officer or firefighter shall, commencing on the 181st calendar day, begin again to receive the base salary he was being paid at the time of his suspension and shall continue to do so until a final determination on the officer’s or firefighter’s termination is rendered.

     b.    The 180 calendar day period shall commence on the date that the officer or firefighter is suspended without pay and shall be calculated as follows:

     (1)   The calendar days that accrue between the date the officer or firefighter is terminated by his employing agency or department and the date on which the officer or firefighter files his appeal of his termination with the Office of Administrative Law shall not be used in calculating the date upon which the officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to receive his base salary pending a final determination on his appeal;

     (2)   If the officer or firefighter or his representative requests and is granted a postponement of a hearing or any other delay before the 181st calendar day, the calendar days that accrue during that postponement or delay shall not be used in calculating the date upon which the officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to receive his base salary pending a final determination on his appeal;

     (3)   If the officer or firefighter or his representative causes by his actions a postponement, adjournment or delay of a hearing before the 181st calendar day, the calendar days that accrue during that postponement, adjournment or delay shall not be used in calculating the date upon which the officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to receive his base salary pending a final determination on his appeal;

     (4)   If the officer and the agency or the firefighter and the department agree to any postponement or delay of a hearing before the 181st calendar day, the calendar days that accrue during that postponement or delay shall not be used in calculating the date upon which that officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to receive his base salary pending a final determination on his appeal; or

     (5)   If the administrative law judge or Civil Service Commission for good cause postpones or delays a hearing before the 181st calendar day, the calendar days that accrue during that postponement or delay shall not be used in calculating the date upon which that officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to receive his base salary pending a final determination on his appeal.

     c.     If an officer or firefighter who is receiving full pay pending a final determination on an appeal in accordance with the provisions of subsection a. of this section requests and is granted, or who otherwise causes by his actions a postponement, adjournment, or delay of a hearing, or whose representative requests and is granted, or who otherwise causes by his actions a postponement, adjournment or delay of a hearing, that officer or firefighter shall not be entitled to receive his base salary during the period of that postponement, adjournment, or delay.

 

     3.    (New section)  a.  An employing agency or department subject to the provisions of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall conduct a hearing on the complaint or charges within 30 days of the date on which the officer or firefighter was suspended, unless (1) the officer or firefighter agrees to waive his right to the hearing or (2) the parties agree to an adjournment to a later date.  As provided in paragraphs (2) and (4) of subsection b. of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the calendar days that accrue during any such waiver or agreement to adjourn shall not be used in calculating the date upon which the officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to receive his base salary pending a final determination on the officer’s or firefighter’s appeal.

     b.    The employing agency or department shall make a final disposition of the complaint and charges against the officer or firefighter within 20 days of the hearing and shall furnish the officer or firefighter with a written notice thereof.

     c.     An officer or firefighter shall have 20 days from the date of receipt of a written notice to appeal.  The calendar days that accrue between the date of the receipt of a written notice of a final disposition and the filing of an appeal shall not be used in calculating the date upon which that officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to receive his base salary pending a final determination on his appeal.

     d.    To facilitate the timely rendering of a final determination on an appeal filed pursuant to the provisions of P.L.   , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), an aggrieved officer or firefighter shall file his appeal simultaneously with the Office of Administrative Law and the Civil Service Commission.  The simultaneous filing of an appeal pursuant to this subsection shall be in a manner, form and time prescribed by the Civil Service Commission.

 

     4.    (New section) If the administrative law judge recommends that:

     a.     The officer’s or firefighter’s appeal be denied and that the officer’s or firefighter’s employment be terminated, the officer or firefighter shall not be entitled to receive his base salary, or continue to receive his base salary if, at the time the judge’s recommendation is rendered, the officer or firefighter already is receiving his base salary, as provided in subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), until a final determination rendered by the Civil Service Commission reverses that recommendation;

     b.    The employing agency’s action terminating the officer or the department’s action terminating the firefighter be dismissed, the employing agency or department shall, within the time prescribed by the Civil Service Commission, begin paying the officer or firefighter his base salary.  If, at the time the judge’s recommendation is rendered, the officer or firefighter already is receiving his base salary, as provided in section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the officer or firefighter shall continue to do so, until a final determination rendered by the Civil Service Commission reverses that recommendation; or

     c.     The officer or firefighter be subject to disciplinary action, but to a disciplinary action that is less adverse than termination of the officer’s or firefighter’s employment, the officer or firefighter shall be entitled, commencing on the 181st day following his suspension, as provided in section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or on the day set forth in the judge’s recommendation, whichever is later, to receive his base salary.  In the case of an officer or firefighter who is receiving his base salary in accordance with the provisions of subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) at the time the judge’s recommendation is issued, the officer or firefighter shall continue to receive his base salary unless otherwise recommended by the judge.

     d.    Nothing herein shall be construed to authorize an award of back pay before a final decision is issued pursuant to section 5 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     5.    (New section) The Office of Administrative Law immediately shall transmit an administrative law judge’s recommended decision in each case subject to the provisions of P.L.   , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) to the Civil Service Commission for review.

     Within 45 days of receiving such a decision, the commission shall complete its review and issue its final determination.  If the commission fails to issue its final determination within that 45 day period, the recommended decision of the administrative law judge shall be deemed to be final; provided, however, the commission, at its discretion, may extend its review period by no more than an additional 15 days.  If, during any such extension, the commission fails to issue its final determination, the recommended decision of the administrative law judge shall be deemed to be final, unless, for good cause given, the commission gives written notice to the Chief Administrative Law Judge, the officer or firefighter, and the officer’s employing agency or the firefighter’s department that the review period shall be extended.

     If the extension of a review period pursuant to this subsection is initiated prior to the 181st calendar day, the calendar days accruing during that extension, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (5) of subsection b. of section 2 of P.L.    , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), shall not be used in calculating the date upon which that officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.    , c    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to receive his base salary pending a final determination of his appeal.

 

     6.    (New section)  a.  If the final determination of the commission affirms the officer’s or firefighter’s appeal, the officer or firefighter shall be reinstated immediately, be entitled to receive his base salary, be restored all rights and benefits, including those accruable during the period of appeal, and shall, within a timely period prescribed by rule and regulation, be paid any salary moneys withheld by the officer’s employing agency or the firefighter’s department during the period the officer or firefighter was suspended without pay.

     b.    If the final determination issued by the commission denies the officer’s or firefighter’s appeal, the officer or firefighter shall reimburse his employing agency or department for all pay received during the period of the appeal pursuant to section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     If an officer or firefighter fails to reimburse his employing agency or department for the amounts he received pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the agency or department may have a lien, pursuant to the provisions of section 13 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), for those amounts on any and all property and income to which the officer or firefighter shall have or may acquire an interest in, including moneys contributed by the officer or firefighter to the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System of New Jersey, established pursuant to P.L.1944, c.255 (C.43:16A-1 et seq.) or any other State retirement system established by law, and all terminal pay, such as compensation for earned sick and vacation leave, to which the officer or firefighter is entitled.

 

     7.    (New section)  a.  An officer or firefighter appealing a final determination terminating his employment to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, shall not be entitled to the payment of any base salary under the provisions of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) during the pendency of that appeal.

     b.    If the employing agency or department appeals a final determination rendered by the Civil Service Commission to the Appellate Division, the officer or firefighter shall continue to receive his base salary during the pendency of that appeal.

     If the court affirms the employing agency’s or department’s termination, the officer or firefighter shall reimburse his employing agency or department for all base salary received under the provisions of P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  If an officer or firefighter fails to reimburse his employing agency or department for the amounts so received, the agency or department may have a lien, pursuant to the provisions of section 13 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), for those amounts on any and all property and income to which the officer or firefighter shall have or may acquire an interest in, including moneys contributed by the officer or firefighter to the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System of New Jersey, established pursuant to P.L.1944, c.255 (C.43:16A-1 et seq.) or any other State retirement system established by law, and all terminal pay, such as compensation for earned sick and vacation leave, to which the officer or firefighter is entitled.

 

     8.    (New section)  Within six months of the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Director of the Office of Administrative Law shall establish a special unit, to be known as the Law Enforcement and Firefighter Unit.  Administrative law judges qualified by their expertise and experience in disciplinary matters and cases subject to the provisions of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be assigned to this Law Enforcement and Firefighter Unit.

     To the greatest extent practicable and feasible, all cases subject to P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be heard and determined by judges assigned to the Law Enforcement and Firefighter Unit.


     9.    (New section)  a.  Notwithstanding the provisions of the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), the Office of Administrative Law and the Civil Service Commission, in consultation, shall promulgate temporary rules to effectuate the purposes of section 2 through section 7, inclusive, of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill). These rules shall include, but not be limited to practices and procedures governing matters such as discovery, motions and the conduct of hearings and shall be designed to ensure that all disciplinary cases subject to the provisions of section 2 of P.L.    c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) are brought to resolution expeditiously.  The temporary rules promulgated pursuant to this subsection shall take effect immediately and shall expire on the first day of the 13th month following enactment.

     b.    In accordance with the provisions of the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), the Office of Administrative Law and the Civil Service Commission, in consultation, shall promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of section 2 through section 7, inclusive, of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill). These rules and regulations shall include, but not be limited to practices and procedures governing matters such as discovery, motions and the conduct of hearings and shall be designed to ensure that all disciplinary cases subject to the provisions of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) are brought to resolution expeditiously.  The rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this section shall take effect upon the expiration of the temporary rules promulgated pursuant to subsection a. of this section and may, as appropriate to effectuate the purposes of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), be amended in accordance with the provisions of the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

 

     10.  (New section)  a.  When a law enforcement officer or firefighter employed by a law enforcement agency or department that is not subject to the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes is suspended from performing his official duties without pay for a complaint or charges, other than (1) a complaint or charges relating to the subject matter of a pending criminal investigation, inquiry, complaint, or charge whether pre-indictment or post indictment, or (2) when the complaint or charges allege conduct that also would constitute a violation of the criminal laws of this State or any other jurisdiction, and the law enforcement agency or department employing the officer or firefighter seeks to terminate that officer’s or firefighter’s employment for the conduct that was the basis for the officer’s or firefighter’s suspension without pay, the officer, as an alternative to the judicial review authorized under N.J.S.40A:14-150, and the firefighter, as an alternative to the judicial review authorized under N.J.S.40A:14-22, may submit an appeal of his suspension and termination to the Public Employment Relations Commission for arbitration conducted in accordance with the provisions of section 11 of P.L.   , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  A final determination on the officer’s or firefighter’s suspension and termination shall be rendered by an arbitrator within 180 calendar days from the date the officer or firefighter is suspended without pay.

     If a final determination is not rendered within those 180 days, as hereinafter calculated, the officer or firefighter shall, commencing on the 181st calendar day, begin again to receive the base salary he was being paid at the time of his suspension and shall continue to do so until the final determination on the officer’s or firefighter’s termination is rendered.

     b.    The 180 calendar day period shall commence on the date that the officer or firefighter is suspended without pay and shall be calculated as follows:

     (1)   The calendar days that accrue between the date the officer or firefighter is terminated by his employing agency or department and the date on which the officer or firefighter submits his appeal for arbitration to the Public Employment Relations Commission pursuant to section 11 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall not be used in calculating the date upon which the officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to receive his base salary pending a final determination on his appeal;

     (2)   If the officer or the firefighter or their representative requests and is granted a postponement of a hearing or any other delay before the 181st calendar day, the calendar days that accrue during that postponement or delay shall not be used in calculating the date upon which the officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to receive his base salary pending a final determination on his appeal;

     (3)   If the officer or the firefighter or their representative causes by his actions a postponement, adjournment or delay of a hearing before the 181st calendar day, the calendar days that accrue during that postponement, adjournment or delay shall not be used in calculating the date upon which the officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to receive his base salary pending a final determination on his appeal;

     (4)   If the officer and the agency or the firefighter and the department agree to any postponement or delay of a hearing before the 181st calendar day, the calendar days that accrue during that postponement or delay shall not be used in calculating the date upon which that officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to receive his base salary pending a final determination on his appeal; or

     (5)   If the arbitrator or the Public Employment Relations Commission for good cause postpones or delays a hearing before the 181st calendar day, the calendar days that accrue during that postponement or delay shall not be used in calculating the date upon which that officer or firefighter is entitled, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to receive his base salary pending final determination of his appeal.

     c.     If an officer or firefighter, who is receiving full pay pending a final determination in accordance with the provisions of subsection a. of this section, requests and is granted, or who otherwise causes by his actions a postponement, adjournment or delay of a hearing, or whose representative requests and is granted, or who otherwise causes by his actions a postponement, adjournment or delay of a hearing, that officer or firefighter shall be paid no salary during the period of that postponement, adjournment or delay.

 

     11.  (New section)  a.  In lieu of serving a written notice to the Superior Court under the provisions of N.J.S.40A:14-150 or N.J.S.40A:14-22, as appropriate, seeking review of the termination of his employment for a complaint or charges, other than a complaint or charges relating to a criminal offense, as prescribed in subsection a. of section 10 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), an officer or firefighter may submit his appeal to arbitration as hereinafter provided.

     b.    Within 20 days of receiving notice of termination, the officer or firefighter shall submit his appeal for arbitration to the Public Employment Relations Commission.  The appeal shall be filed in a manner and form prescribed by the commission.

     Upon receipt of such an appeal, the commission shall forthwith notify the employing agency  or department of the appeal.

     c.     The commission shall establish a special panel of arbitrators to hear appeals filed pursuant to this section.  The arbitrators selected to serve on this special panel shall be qualified by experience and expertise in disciplinary matters and cases subject to the provisions of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

      d.   Within 10 days of notifying the appealing officer’s former employing agency or the firefighter’s former department, the commission shall provide the parties with a list of available arbitrators.

      If within 10 days of receiving the list of available arbitrators, the parties are unable to mutually agree upon the selection of an arbitrator and so notify the commission in writing, the assignment of the arbitrator for the purposes of this section shall be the responsibility of the commission, independent of and without any participation by either of the parties.  The commission shall select the arbitrator for assignment by lot.

      Should an arbitrator selected by mutual agreement be unable to serve, the parties shall be afforded an opportunity to select a replacement.  If the two parties are unable to mutually agree upon the selection of a replacement within a time period prescribed by the commission, the commission shall select the replacement in the manner hereinafter provided.

      In any proceeding where an assigned arbitrator is unable to serve or, pursuant to the preceding paragraph, the two parties are unable to mutually agree upon a replacement, the commission shall assign a replacement arbitrator.  The assignment shall be the responsibility of the commission, independent of and without any participation by either of the parties.  The commission shall select the replacement arbitrator for assignment by lot.

      e.   The arbitrator may administer oaths, require the attendance of witnesses, and the production of such documents as he may deem material to a just determination of the appeal, and for such purpose may issue subpoenas.  If any person refuses to obey a subpoena, or refuses to be sworn or to testify, or if any witness, party or attorney is guilty of contempt while in attendance of any hearing, the arbitrator may, or the Attorney General if requested, shall invoke the aid of the Superior Court within the county in which the hearing is being held, and that court shall issue an appropriate order.  A failure to obey the order may be punished by the court as contempt.

      f.    The arbitrator shall render an opinion and final determination within 90 days of his appointment, be that appointment by mutual agreement of the parties or by assignment of the commission by lot.

      The arbitrator’s final determination shall be binding on all parties and shall be implemented immediately.

     g.     (1)  If the final determination sustains the officer’s or the firefighter’s appeal, the officer or firefighter shall be reinstated immediately with full pay, be restored all rights and benefits, including those accruable during the period of appeal, and shall, within a timely period prescribed by rule and regulation, be paid any salary moneys withheld by the officer’s employing agency or the firefighter’s department.

     (2)   If the final determination denies the officer’s or the firefighter’s appeal, the officer or firefighter shall reimburse his employing agency or department for all pay received during the period of the appeal pursuant to this section.  If an officer or firefighter fails to reimburse his employing agency or department for the amounts he received pursuant to this section, the agency or department may have a lien, pursuant to the provisions of section 13 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), for those amounts on any and all property and income to which the officer or firefighter shall have or may acquire an interest in, including moneys contributed by the officer or firefighter to the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System of New Jersey, established pursuant to P.L.1944, c.255 (C.43:16A-1 et seq.) or any other State retirement system established by law, and all terminal pay, such as compensation for earned sick and vacation leave, to which the officer or firefighter is entitled.

      h.   (1)  During the period of an appeal of an arbitrator’s final determination filed by an officer’s employing agency or a firefighter’s department,  that officer or firefighter shall be entitled to receive the salary he was being paid at the time of his termination and shall continue to do so until a final determination has been made on the appeal.

      (2)  During the period of an appeal of an arbitrator’s final determination filed by an officer or firefighter, that officer or firefighter  shall not be entitled to receive any salary.

 

     12.  (New section)  a.  Notwithstanding the provisions of the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), the Public Employment Relations Commission shall promulgate temporary rules to effectuate the purposes of sections 10 and 11 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  These rules shall include, but not be limited to practices and procedures governing matters such as discovery, motions and the conduct of hearings and shall be designed to ensure that all disciplinary cases subject to the provisions of section 10 of P.L.    c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) are brought to resolution expeditiously.  The temporary rules promulgated pursuant to this subsection shall take effect immediately and shall expire on the first day of the 13th month following enactment.

     b.    In accordance with the provisions of the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), the Public Employment Relations Commission shall promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of sections 10 and 11 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill). These rules and regulations shall include, but not be limited to practices and procedures governing matters such as discovery, motions and the conduct of hearings and shall be designed to ensure that all disciplinary cases subject to the provisions of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) are brought to resolution expeditiously.  The rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this section shall take effect upon the expiration of the temporary rules promulgated pursuant to subsection a. of this section and may, as appropriate to effectuate the purposes of section 10 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), be amended in accordance with the provisions of the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

 

     13.  (New section)  a.  If an officer or firefighter who is required to reimburse his employing agency for pay received during a period of appeal pursuant section 6 or section 11 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) fails to do so, the employing agency or department shall have a lien on any or all property or income which that officer or firefighter shall have, or in which the officer or firefighter may acquire, an interest, including moneys contributed by the officer or firefighter to the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System of New Jersey, established pursuant to P.L.1944, c.255 (C.43:16A-1 et seq.) or any other State retirement system established by law, and all terminal pay, such as compensation for earned sick and vacation leave, to which the officer or firefighter is entitled.  When properly filed as hereinafter provided, the lien shall have priority over all unrecorded encumbrances.

     b.    The lien shall be in a form to be prescribed by the Attorney General and shall contain the name of the affected law enforcement agency, the name and address of the officer or firefighter, the date of the officer’s or firefighter’s termination, the date the officer or firefighter was ordered to reimburse his employing agency or department, the amount due and payable as reimbursement on the date of the filing of the lien, together with notice of the rate of accumulation, if any, thereafter.  The lien shall be signed by the State Treasurer or chief financial officer of the county or municipality, as appropriate, or his duly constituted agent.

     c.     As an additional remedy, the State Treasurer, or the chief financial officer of the county or municipality, as the case may be, may issue a certificate to the clerk of the Superior Court stating that the person identified in the certificate is indebted under the provisions of P.L.   , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) for the amount set forth in the certificate. The certificate shall reference P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the statute under which the indebtedness arises. Thereupon the clerk shall immediately enter upon the record of docketed judgments the name of that officer or firefighter as debtor; the State, county, or municipality, as appropriate, as creditor; the address of the officer if shown in the certificate; the amount of the debt so certified; a reference to P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the statute under which the debt is assessed; and the date of making such entries. The docketing of the certificate shall have the same force and effect as a civil judgment docketed in the Superior Court and the State, county, or municipality, as the case may be, shall have all the remedies and may take all of the proceedings for the collection thereof which may be had or taken upon the recovery of a judgment in action, but without prejudice to any right to appeal. Upon entry by the clerk of the certificate in the record of docketed judgments in accordance with the provisions of this subsection, interest in the amount specified by court rule for post-judgment interest shall accrue from the date of the docketing of the certificate; provided, however, payment of the interest may be waived by the State Treasurer, or the chief financial officer of the affected county or municipality.  In the event that the debt remains unpaid following the issuance of the certificate of debt and either the State Treasurer, or the chief financial officer of the affected county or municipality take any further collections action including referral of the matter to the Attorney General, or his designee, or the appropriate county or municipal official, or his designee, as the case may be, the fee imposed in lieu of the actual cost of collection, may be 20% of the debt or $200, whichever is greater.

     d.    The clerk of the Superior Court shall provide suitable books in which shall be entered copies of the liens filed pursuant to this section.  The entries shall be properly indexed in the name of the officer or firefighter subject to the lien.

     All liens and other papers incidental thereto required for the purposes of this section shall be received and recorded by the clerk of the Superior Court, without payment of fees.

     e.     To discharge any lien or liens filed pursuant to this section, the State Treasurer or the chief financial officer of the affected county or municipality, or his duly constituted agent, shall file with the clerk of the Superior Court, a duly acknowledged certificate setting forth the fact that the State, county or municipality desires to discharge the lien of record.

     The State Treasurer or the chief financial officer of the affected county or municipality is authorized to compromise for settlement any lien filed under the provisions of this section.  A memorandum of compromise and settlement signed by the State Treasurer or the chief financial officer of the affected county or municipality shall be sufficient authorization for a complete discharge of the lien.

     f.     Any person desiring to secure immediate discharge of any lien may deposit with the court cash in an amount sufficient to cover the amount of the lien, or post a bond in an amount and with sureties approved by the court.  Upon proper notice to the State or the affected county or municipality of such deposit or bond, a satisfaction of the lien shall be filed forthwith with the clerk of the Superior Court.

     g.     Any person affected in any manner, whether directly or indirectly by any lien filed under the provisions of this section, and desiring to examine the validity of the lien or the facts and circumstances surrounding the entry of the lien, may do so in an action brought in the county where the lien was filed. The action shall be brought against the State, county or municipal law enforcement agency or department claiming the lien, and the court may proceed in the action in a summary manner and enter such judgment as it may deem appropriate.

     14.  N.J.S.40A:14-150 is amended to read as follows:

     40A:14-150.  Any member or officer of a police department or force in a municipality wherein [Title 11 (Civil Service)] Title 11A of the [Revised] New Jersey Statutes is not in operation, who has been tried and convicted upon any charge or charges, may obtain a review thereof by the Superior Court; provided, however, that in the case of an officer who is appealing removal from his office, employment or position for a complaint or charges, other than a complaint or charges relating to a criminal offense, the officer may, in lieu of serving a written notice seeking a review of that removal by the court, submit his appeal to arbitration pursuant to section 10 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  Such review shall be obtained by serving a written notice of an application therefor upon the officer or board whose action is to be reviewed within 10 days after written notice to the member or officer of the conviction.  The officer or board shall transmit to the court a copy of the record of such conviction, and of the charge or charges for which the applicant was tried.  The court shall hear the cause de novo on the record below and may either affirm, reverse or modify such conviction.  If the applicant shall have been removed from his office, employment or position the court may direct that he be restored to such office, employment or position and to all his rights pertaining thereto, and may make such other order or judgment as said court shall deem proper.

     Either party may supplement the record with additional testimony subject to the rules of evidence.

(cf:  P.L.1981, c.75, s.6)

 

     15.  N.J.S.40A:14-22 is amended to read as follows:

     40A:14-22.  Any member or officer of a paid or part-paid fire department or force in a municipality wherein Title [11 (Civil Service)] 11A of the [Revised] New Jersey Statutes is not in operation, who has been tried and convicted upon any charge or charges may obtain a review thereof by the Superior Court; provided, however, a firefighter who is qualified under the provisions of section 10 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) may appeal removal from his office, employment or position for a complaint or charges, other than a complaint or charges relating to a criminal offense, by submitting an appeal to arbitration pursuant to section 10 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) in lieu of serving a written notice seeking a review of that removal by the court.  Such review shall be obtained by serving a written notice of an application therefor upon the officer or board whose action is to be reviewed within 10 days after written notice to the member or officer of the conviction.  The officer or board shall transmit to the court a copy of the record of such conviction, and of the charge or charges for which the applicant was tried. The court shall hear the cause de novo on the record below and may either affirm, reverse or modify such conviction.  If the applicant shall have been removed from his office, employment or position the court may direct that he be restored to such office, employment or position and to all his rights pertaining thereto, and may make such other order or judgment as said court shall deem proper.

     Either party may supplement the record with additional testimony subject to the rules of evidence.

(cf:  P.L.1981, c.75, s.5)

 

     16.  This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month following enactment and shall apply to all disciplinary cases in which the underlying conduct occurred after that effective date. Notwithstanding the effective date, the Civil Service Commission, the Office of Administrative Law and the Public Employment Relations Commission may take such anticipatory administrative actions in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.