SENATE, No. 2794

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 21, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  STEPHEN M. SWEENEY

District 3 (Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Encourages local unit sharing of services; makes appropriations.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act promoting the more effective operation of local government and the sharing of services among local units, amending and supplementing P.L.2007, c.63, amending P.L.2007, c.54, and making appropriations.

 

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

 

     1.    Section 11 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-11), is amended to read as follows:

     11.  a. When a local unit contracts, through a shared service or joint meeting, to have another local unit or a joint meeting provide a service it is currently providing using public employees and one or more of the local units have adopted Title 11A, Civil Service, then the agreement shall include an employment reconciliation plan in accordance with this section that [and, if one or more of the local units have adopted Title 11A, Civil Service,] shall specifically set forth the intended jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission.  An employment reconciliation plan shall be subject to the following provisions:

     (1)   a determination of those employees, if any, that shall be transferred to the providing local unit, retained by the recipient local unit, or terminated from employment for reasons of economy or efficiency, subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units.

     (2)   [any employee terminated for reasons of economy or efficiency by the local unit providing the service under the shared service agreement shall be given a terminal leave payment of not less than a period of one month for each five-year period of past service as an employee with the local unit, or other enhanced benefits that may be provided or negotiated.  For the purposes of this paragraph, "terminal leave payment" means a single, lump sum payment, paid at termination, calculated using the regular base salary at the time of termination.  Unless otherwise negotiated or provided by the employer, a terminal leave benefit shall not include extended payment, or payment for retroactive salary increases, bonuses, overtime, longevity, sick leave, accrued vacation or other time benefit, or any other benefit.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L. , c. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     (3)   the Civil Service Commission shall place any employee that has permanent status pursuant to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes that is terminated for reasons of economy or efficiency at any time by either local unit on a special reemployment list for any civil service employer within the county of the agreement or any political subdivision therein, except that an employee who has turned down a reemployment opportunity in a position that is one with the same or substantially similar job duties as, the same title and series as, the same or substantially similar hours of work as, and a location within a twenty-five mile radius of, the position from which the employee was terminated, shall not be included on a special reemployment list.

     (4)   [when a proposed shared service agreement affects employees in local units subject to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, an employment reconciliation plan shall be filed with the Civil Service Commission prior to the approval of the shared service agreement.  The commission shall review it for consistency with this section within 45 days of receipt and it shall be deemed approved, subject to approval of the shared service agreement by the end of that time, unless the commission has responded with a denial or conditions that must be met in order for it to be approved.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L. , c. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     (5)   when an action is required of the Civil Service Commission by this section, parties to a planned shared service agreement may consult with that commission in advance of the action and the commission shall provide such technical support as may be necessary to assist in the preparation of an employment reconciliation plan or any other action required of the commission by this section.

     b.    [If all the local units that are parties to the agreement are subject to the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, the Civil Service Commission shall create an implementation plan for the agreement that will: (1) transfer employees with current status in current title unless reclassified, or (2) reclassify employees into job titles that best reflect the work to be performed.  The Civil Service Commission shall review whether any existing hiring or promotional lists should be merged, inactivated, or re-announced.  Non-transferred employees shall be removed or suspended only for good cause and after the opportunity for a hearing before the Civil Service Commission; provided, however, that they may be laid-off in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.11A:8-1 et seq., and the regulations promulgated thereunder.] The final decision of which employees shall transfer to the new employer is vested solely with the local unit that will provide the service and subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units.

     c.     [If the local unit that will provide the service pursuant to a shared service agreement is subject to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, but the local unit to receive the service is not subject to that Title, and the contracting local units desire that some or all employees of the recipient local unit are to be transferred to the providing local unit, the  Civil Service Commission shall vest only those employees who have been employed for one year or more in permanent status pursuant to N.J.S.11A:9-9 in appropriate titles, seniority, and tenure with the providing local unit based on the duties of the position.  The final decision of which employees shall transfer to the new employer is vested solely with the local unit that will provide the service and subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units]. Once transferred, employees shall be subject to all applicable collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and personnel policies that exist for the local unit that will provide the service.

     d.    [If the local unit that will provide the service is not subject to the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, but the local unit that will receive the service is subject to that Title and the parties desire that some or all employees of the recipient local unit are to be transferred to the providing local unit, the transferred employees shall be granted tenure in office and shall only be removed or suspended for good cause and after a hearing; provided, however, that they may be laid-off in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.11A:8-1 et seq., and the regulations promulgated thereunder]A permanent employee who is laid off for reasons of economy due to the joint meeting or shared service agreement shall be given notice at least 45 days prior to the layoff, and shall have a right to appeal the good faith of such layoff to the Civil Service Commission.  Appeals must be filed within 20 days of final notice of such layoff.  The transferred employees shall be subject to layoff procedures prior to the transfer to the new entity. Once transferred, they will be subject to any employment contracts and provisions that exist for the new entity.  The final decision of which employees shall transfer to the new employer is vested solely with the local unit that will provide the service and subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units.

(cf: P.L.2008, c.29, s.101)

 

     2.    Section 19 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-19) is amended to read as follows:

     19.  a. When a local unit agrees to participate in a joint meeting that will provide a service that the local unit is currently providing itself through public employees, the agreement shall include an employment reconciliation plan in accordance with this section.  An employment reconciliation plan shall be subject to the following provisions:

     (1)   a determination of those employees, if any, that shall be transferred to the joint meeting, retained by the contracting local unit, or terminated from employment for reasons of economy or efficiency subject to the provisions of any collective bargaining agreements within the local units.

     (2)   [any employee terminated for reasons of economy or efficiency by the contracting local unit providing the service or by the joint meeting shall be given a terminal leave payment of not less than a period of one month for each five-year period of past service as an employee with the local unit, or other enhanced benefits that may be provided or negotiated.  Unless otherwise negotiated or provided by the employer, a terminal leave benefit shall not include extended payment, or payment for retroactive salary increases, bonuses, overtime, longevity, sick leave, accrued vacation or other time benefit, or any other benefit.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L. , c. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     (3)   the Civil Service Commission shall place any employee that has permanent status pursuant to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes that is terminated for reasons of economy or efficiency at any time by either local unit on a special reemployment list for any civil service employer within the county of the agreement or any political subdivision therein, except that an employee who has turned down a reemployment opportunity in a position that is one with the same or substantially similar job duties as, the same title and series as, the same or substantially similar hours of work as, and a location within a twenty-five mile radius of, the position from which the employee was terminated, shall not be included on a special reemployment list.

     (4)   [when a proposed joint contract affects employees in local units that operate under the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, an employment reconciliation plan shall be filed with the Civil Service Commission prior to the approval of the joint meeting agreement.  That commission shall review the plan for consistency with this section within 45 days of receipt and it shall be deemed approved, subject to approval of the joint meeting agreement by the end of that time, unless that commission has responded with a denial or conditions that must be met in order for it to be approved.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.  , c.  ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     (5)   when an action is required of the Civil Service Commission by this section, parties to a proposed joint contract may consult with the commission in advance of the action and the commission shall provide such technical support as may be necessary to assist in the preparation of an employment reconciliation plan or any other action required of the commission by this section.

     b.    [If both the local unit and joint meeting operate under the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, the Civil Service Commission shall create an implementation plan for employees to be hired by the joint meeting that will: (1) transfer employees with current status in current title unless reclassified or (2) reclassify employees, if necessary, into job titles that best reflect the work to be performed.  The Civil Service Commission shall review whether any existing hiring or promotional lists should be merged, inactivated, or re-announced.  Non-transferred employees shall be removed or suspended only for good cause and after the opportunity for a hearing before the Civil Service Commission; provided, however, that they may be laid-off in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.11A:8-1 et seq., and the regulations promulgated thereunder.]  The final decision of which employees shall transfer to the new employer is vested solely with the local unit that will provide the service and subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units.

     c.     [If the joint meeting operates under the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, and a local unit receiving the service is not subject to that Title, and the parties desire that some or all employees of the local unit be transferred to the joint meeting, the Civil Service Commission shall vest only those employees who have been employed one year or more in permanent status pursuant to N.J.S.40A:9-9 in appropriate titles, seniority, and tenure with the providing local unit based on the duties of the position.  The final decision of which employees shall transfer to the new employer is vested solely with the joint meeting and subject to the agreements affecting the parties, provided that those agreements do not conflict with the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units.] Once transferred, employees shall be subject to all applicable collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and personnel policies that exist for the joint meeting.

     d.    [(1) If the joint meeting does not operate under the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, and the local unit receiving the service is subject to that Title, and the parties desire that some or all employees of the recipient local unit are to be transferred to the joint meeting, then the transferred employees shall be granted tenure in office and shall be removed or suspended only for good cause and after a hearing.]  The transferred employees shall be subject to layoff procedures prior to the transfer to the new entity.  Once transferred, they will be subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and [provisions] personnel policies that exist for the new entity. The final decision of which employees shall transfer to the joint meeting is vested solely with the joint meeting [and subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units].

     [(2)  A joint meeting established after the effective date of sections 1 to 37 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-1 et al.) that affects both employees in local units subject to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes and employees in local units not subject to that Title, shall determine whether the employees of the joint meeting shall be subject to the Title.  If the joint meeting determines that the employees shall not be subject to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, then the employees from the local units in which the Title is in effect shall have the same rights as employees transferred pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection.]

(cf: P.L.2008, c.29, s.102)

 

     3.    (New section)  Notwithstanding any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, shall not apply to an employee affected by a shared service agreement or joint meeting entered into, renewed or extended pursuant to P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-1 et seq.) or any other law providing for the sharing of services after the effective date of this act.

 

     4.    Section 5 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-505) is amended to read as follows:

     5.    a. (1) The commission shall study and report on the structure and functions of county and municipal government, including local taxing districts, their statutory bases, including the fiscal relationship between local governments, and the appropriate allocation of service delivery responsibilities from the standpoint of efficiency.  The study of the transfer of the municipal tax assessment function to the county through the appointment of a county assessor and deputy county assessors in a pilot county pursuant to the "Property Assessment Reform Act," sections 1 through 15 of P.L.2009, c.118 (C.54:1-86 et seq.), shall be conducted in consultation with the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury.

     (2)   The commission shall recommend legislative changes which would encourage the more efficient operation of local government.  These changes may include the structural and administrative streamlining of county and municipal government functions, including but not limited to, the transfer of functions from one level of government to another, and the use or establishment of regional service delivery entities.

     (3)   The commission shall also consider optimal service levels, ratios of employees to population served, cost structures for service delivery, and other best practices.

     Within two years following the effective date of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-501 et al.), the commission shall report its findings to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the General Assembly; provided, however, that findings concerning the transfer of the municipal tax assessment function to the county through the appointment of a county assessor and deputy county assessors shall be reported on or before February 1 of the sixth year next following the effective date of P.L.2009, c.118 (C.54:1-86 et al.).

     b.    Based on its findings pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection a. of this section, the commission shall develop criteria to serve as the basis: for recommending the consolidation of specific municipalities [,] and the merger of specific existing autonomous agencies into the parent municipal or county government, [or] and for the recommending or ordering the sharing of services between municipalities or between municipalities and other public entities, including but not limited to counties, fire districts, school districts, and regional school districts[Recommendations for sharing services may result from a study focusing exclusively on the sharing of services or may result from a study examining potential consolidation.  Municipalities to be considered for consolidation shall be within the same county and shall also be situated within the same legislative district.]

     The criteria to govern a study to examine consolidation or the sharing of services shall include, but need not be limited to:

     (1)   a consideration of geographic factors, such as a shared boundary, or in the case of the recommended consolidation of more than two local units, that the consolidated local unit will have a contiguous boundary;

     (2)   an analysis of the economic costs and benefits of consolidation or the sharing of services, as the case may be, including potential tax savings and reductions in government costs through economies of scale;

     (3)   measures to ensure that costs and benefits of consolidation or service sharing are distributed equitably across the entire community; and

     (4)   measures to safeguard the interests of communities in the municipalities for which consolidation is recommended.

     [The commission shall give priority to local units that volunteer to be studied.]

     c.     (1) (a) Based upon criteria developed pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the commission shall undertake studies to examine the consolidation of specific municipalities, the merger of specific existing autonomous agencies into the parent municipal or county government, and the sharing of services between specific municipalities or between municipalities and other public entities.

     (b)   A local unit may request the commission to undertake a study to examine the local unit's potential for consolidation or the sharing of services.  A county may request the commission to undertake a study to examine the county's potential for providing specific shared services to constituent municipalities.  When prioritizing studies to undertake, the commission shall give first priority to local units and counties submitting requests pursuant to this subparagraph.

     (c)   In accordance with the results of its studies, the commission may recommend the consolidation or merger of specific municipalities, or of parent municipalities and other public entities, and may recommend or order the sharing of services between specific municipalities or between municipalities and other public entities.  The commission shall not undertake studies to examine the consolidation of municipalities unless they are situated within the same county.

     (d)   The commission shall provide written notice of a recommendation or order made pursuant to this subsection to the governing body of each local unit that is the subject of the recommendation or order, together with documentation supporting the commission's recommendation or order.  A local unit may contest the total net savings estimate contained in the commission's proposal or order by appeal to the Commissioner of Community Affairs within 30 days of receipt of the recommendation or order.  The commissioner shall have 15 business days to review the analysis and the challenge in order to determine whether the analysis should be adjusted.  The commissioner may extend the review time for the appeal if the commissioner deems a hearing is necessary.  The commission shall not submit a consolidation proposal, shared services proposal, or proposed shared services order to the Governor and the Legislature pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507) until the commissioner has rendered a determination.

     (e)   Notwithstanding any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, shall not apply to an employee affected by a shared services agreement ordered or recommended pursuant to this subsection or agreed to under any other law providing for the sharing of services.

     (2)   When a municipal consolidation is recommended by the commission, the commission shall substitute for a joint municipal consolidation study commission that would be formed pursuant to section 7 of the "Municipal Consolidation Act," P.L.1977, c.435 (C.40:43-66.41) or any other statute governing municipal consolidation, and no voter approval shall be required to create the study commission.  The commission shall be present at one or more of the public hearings required pursuant to subsection d. of section 25 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-25).

     (3)   When a sharing of services is recommended or ordered by the commission, the commission shall hold at least two public hearings, in places that are easily accessible to the residents of both or all of the municipalities, prior to submitting a shared services proposal or proposed shared services order to the Governor and the Legislature pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507).

     d.    When a consolidation or shared service is recommended or ordered by the commission, the commission shall recommend State funding for any extraordinary expenses necessitated by the consolidation plan or shared service agreement.  The commission shall recommend that this funding be provided either by funds made available to the commission for that purpose or by the Legislature or State Treasurer as part of the annual State budget process.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.118, s.16)

 

     5.    Section 6 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-506) is amended to read as follows:

     6.    a.  The "Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission" shall work in conjunction with the Local Finance Board and the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs. [To the extent possible, the] The commission may request specific resources from the department.  The department shall provide the commission with all resources requested by the commission that the commission determines are necessary for it to operate and satisfy its statutory duties, including but not limited to the provision of offices, equipment, materials, and administrative, technical, and legal personnel.  The commission may also request, and shall be entitled to, the assistance and services of the employees of any State department, board, bureau, commission, or agency, as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes.

     b.    The commission may request, and shall be entitled to, the cooperation of the officials and employees of every county and municipality, as it may require, however, the commission may not request or require a county or municipality to undertake a study to examine consolidation or the sharing of service.

     c.     The commission may incur traveling and other miscellaneous expenses necessary to perform its duties, within the limits of funds available to it for its purposes.

     d.    The commission may contract for the services of professional, technical, and operational personnel and consultants as it may determine are necessary to perform its duties, within the limits of funds available to it for its purposes.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.54, s.6)

 

     6.    Section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507) is amended to read as follows:

     7.    a.  The "Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission" shall annually, by January 31st, submit to the Governor and the Legislature a report summarizing the commission's activities over the course of the previous calendar year.

     b.    (1)  In the event that the commission proposes consolidation of local units [or a shared services agreement], the commission shall submit a consolidation [or shared services] proposal to the Governor and the Legislature no later than May 1st of the year in which the proposed consolidation is to be put before the voters pursuant to subsection a. of section 8 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-508).  A municipal consolidation proposal shall include, but not be limited to, a description of the form of government, the election of officers, the apportionment of debts, and other issues between pairs or groups of municipalities which the commission proposes should consolidate or share services.

     (2)   In the event that the commission proposes a specific sharing of services, the commission shall submit a proposed shared services agreement or proposed shared services order to the Governor and the Legislature for review and consideration of the adoption of a concurrent resolution pursuant to subsection c. of this section.

     (3)   The commission shall include in every consolidation proposal, shared services proposal, and proposed shared services order an estimate of the total net savings that will result from implementation of the proposed consolidation or sharing of services.

     c.     A consolidation [or] proposal, shared services proposal, or proposed shared services order shall take effect at the end of a period of 30 calendar days after the date on which the proposal is transmitted to the Senate and General Assembly, on a day on which both thereof shall be meeting in the course of a regular or special session, unless, between the date of transmittal and the end of the 30-day period, the Legislature passes a concurrent resolution stating in substance that the Legislature does not favor the [consolidation] proposal.

 (cf: P.L.2007, c.54, s.7)

 

     7.    Section 8 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-508) is amended to read as follows:

     8.    a.  Upon the taking effect of a consolidation or shared services proposal pursuant to subsection [b.] c. of section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507), each recommendation included therein shall be put before the affected voters at the next general election [and] .  The proposal shall become effective only upon its adoption by a majority of the voters of each affected municipality.

     b.    In order to effectuate the provisions of subsection a. of this section, the Secretary of State shall forward to the clerk of each county in which the affected local units are located a public question to be included on the ballots at the next general election for the election districts encompassing those affected local units.

     (1)   The question with respect to consolidation shall read as follows:

     "Shall (insert the names of the participating local units) be consolidated into a single local unit to be known as (insert the name proposed for the consolidated local unit)? The State, after careful study, proposes this "consolidation" and estimates that it can save $ (insert estimate of savings included in the proposal pursuant to subsection b. of section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507))."

     (2)   The question with respect to shared services shall read as follows:

     "Shall (insert the services to be shared) be jointly undertaken between (insert the  names of the entities between which sharing is to occur)?  The State, after careful study, proposes this "sharing of services" and estimates that it can save $ (insert estimate of savings included in the proposal pursuant to subsection b. of section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507)).  If you vote "No", the State may reduce "State Aid" to your municipality by that amount each year."

     c.     (1) The consolidation of pairs or groups of local units recommended for]  An approved consolidation [under subsection a. of this section] proposal or shared services proposal shall be [accomplished] implemented within 14 months following [the] voter approval of the [consolidation recommendation] proposal.

     (2)   A shared services order that has taken effect pursuant to subsection c. of section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507), shall be implemented by each municipality and other public entity identified therein within 14 months following the date that the shared services order took effect.

     d.    The adoption of a form of government, the election of officers, the apportionment of debts, and other issues between pairs or groups of municipalities required to consolidate pursuant to an approved consolidation [recommendation] proposal under subsection c. of this section shall be determined by the commission, as far as practicable, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the "Municipal Consolidation Act," P.L.1977, c.435 (C.40:43-66.35 et al.) or any other statute governing municipal consolidation.

     e.     For a period of 10 years [from the] following implementation of an approved consolidation [of a pair or group of municipalities pursuant to a consolidation recommendation approved under subsection c. of this section] proposal, and notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the residents of [those municipalities] the consolidated municipality, or portions thereof, shall not have the right to secede to form a new municipality, or to consolidate with, or annex themselves to, any other municipality.

     f.     (1)  If a majority of the voters of a municipality do not approve a shared services proposal, or if a municipality or other entity identified in a proposed shared services agreement does not enter into and implement the proposed shared services agreement within 14 months following voter approval, the State shall annually reduce the total amount of State aid allocated to that municipality or entity by the total net savings estimated in the proposal pursuant to subsection b. of section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507).

     (2)   If a municipality or other entity identified in a shared services order does not implement the order within the 14 month period specified in subsection c. of this section, the State shall: annually reduce the total amount of State aid allocated to that municipality or entity by the total net savings estimated in the proposed shared services order pursuant to subsection b. of section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507); may withhold all State aid allocated to that municipality or entity until it complies with the order; and may take other steps it deems necessary to enforce the order.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.54, s.8)

 

     8.    There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Community Affairs such sums as may be necessary for the operating expenses of the Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission, subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury.

 

     9.    There is appropriated from the Property Tax Relief Fund to the Department of Community Affairs such sums for non-recurring costs that the Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission determines are necessary to fund extraordinary expenses of local units to implement consolidation plans, shared service agreements, and shared services orders, subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury.

 

     10.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     Under current law, the Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission (LUARCC) examines the consolidation of municipalities, the merger of autonomous agencies into their parent municipal or county government, and the sharing of services between municipalities or between municipalities and other public entities.  The bill would clarify LUARCC's powers to recommend specific consolidations and mergers under current law.  The bill would also clarify and enhance LUARCC's powers to facilitate shared service agreements by authorizing LUARCC to recommend or to order the execution of specific shared service agreements.  The provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, would not apply to an employee affected by a shared services agreement ordered or recommended by LUARCC.

     The bill would require LUARCC to include in every consolidation proposal and every shared services proposal an estimate of the savings that will result from implementation of the proposed consolidation or sharing of services.  The bill allows local units to contest LUARCC's estimate of savings by appeal to the Commissioner of Community Affairs.

     Current law provides for public hearings when municipal consolidations are being considered.  The bill provides that when a LUARCC recommends a municipal consolidation, the commission must be present at one or more of those public hearings.  The bill also requires LUARCC to hold at least two public hearings whenever the commission recommends or orders a sharing of services.

     Under the bill, as under current law, LUARCC-recommended consolidation or shared service proposals would become effective upon adoption by a majority of the voters of each affected municipality.  If the voters of a municipality do not approve a shared services proposal or if a municipality or other entity identified in a proposed shared services agreement does not enter into and implement the proposed shared services agreement within 14 months following the effective date of the proposal, the State would annually reduce that municipality's State aid by the amount of savings that was estimated by LUARCC.

     With regard to a LUARCC-ordered sharing of services, if a municipality or other entity identified in a shared services order does not implement the order within 14 months of its effective date, the State would annually reduce the total amount of aid it provides to that municipality or entity by the amount of savings that was estimated by LUARCC.  Furthermore, the bill provides that under these circumstances the State may take other steps it deems necessary to enforce the order, including withholding all State aid allocated to that municipality or entity until it complies with the order.

     Additionally, the bill clarifies the Legislature's intention that LUARCC have sufficient resources to fulfill its statutory obligations by empowering LUARCC to request specific resources from the State and localities and to contract for necessary services. The bill would appropriate funds to LUARCC to cover the costs of operations and to fund extraordinary expenses of local units needed to implement a LUARCC-proposed consolidation plan or shared service agreement.

     The bill also provides that when local units enter into, renew, or extend shared service agreements or joint meetings pursuant to the "Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act," P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-1 et seq.) or any other law providing for the sharing of services, the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, would not apply to employees affected by the shared service agreement or joint contract.