ASSEMBLY, No. 5816

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED JUNE 1, 2021

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† P. CHRISTOPHER TULLY

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Allows county boards of elections to expand staff and appoint clerk within county budgetary requirements.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning the staffing levels of county boards of elections and amending various parts of the statutory law.

 

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

 

†††† 1.††† R.S.19:6-17 is amended to read as follows:

†††† 19:6-17. †a. †The county board shall consist of four persons, who shall be legal voters of the counties for which they are respectively appointed.† Two members of such county board shall be members of the political party which at the last preceding general election, held for the election of all of the members of the General Assembly, cast the largest number of votes in this State for members of the General Assembly, and the remaining two members of such board shall be members of the political party which at such election cast the next largest number of votes in the State for members of the General Assembly.† By a majority vote of the full membership of the [county board of chosen freeholders] board of county commissioners, the [county board of chosen freeholders] board of county commissioners may opt to increase to six persons the membership of the county board of elections. The two new members shall be legal voters of the counties for which they are respectively appointed.† If a [county board of chosen freeholders] board of county commissioners votes to increase the membership of a county board of elections to six persons, the board of elections shall consist of an equal representation between the political parties which at the last preceding general election, held for the election of all of the members of the General Assembly, cast the largest and next largest number of votes in this State for members of the General Assembly.† No person who holds elective public office shall be eligible to serve as a member of the county board during the term of such elective office.† The office of member of the county board shall be deemed vacant upon such member becoming a candidate for an office to be voted upon at any primary, general election or special election, except for nomination for or election to membership in any county committee or State committee or for nomination for or election as a delegate at large or alternate delegate at large, or district delegate or alternate district delegate to any national political convention, such candidacy to be determined by the filing of a petition of nomination duly accepted by such member in the manner provided by law.

†††† [In all counties of the first class the county board may appoint some suitable person clerk of such board.† In counties of the first class having a population of less than 800,000, the county board may appoint four additional office employees, and in counties of the first class having a population of more than 800,000, the county board may appoint not more than six additional office employees, all of whom when appointed by such county boards shall be appointed from the competitive class of civil service, provided, however, that any employee now serving and who has not been appointed from the competitive class of civil service shall be in the classified service of the civil service upon passage of this act.† The compensation of the clerk of the county board of elections in counties of the first class shall be in an amount recommended by the county board of elections and subject to the approval of the board of chosen freeholders of the county affected, provided, however, that such compensation shall be not less than $5,000.00 per annum.† The compensation of such office employees shall be recommended by the county board and approved by the board of chosen freeholders.† All persons now employed by the board in the competitive class of civil service and such other employees now performing assigned duties shall hold such employment in the competitive class of civil service.]

†††† b. †(1) †In all counties, the county board of elections may appoint some suitable person as clerk of the board, and may also appoint any additional office employees, including a director of such employees, it deems necessary, subject to approval by the board of county commissioners of the respective county and to the budgetary process required pursuant to section 11 of P.L.2015, c.249 (C.19:6-21.1). The compensation of the clerk, the director, †and office employees of the county board of elections shall be in an amount recommended by the county board of elections and subject to the approval of the board of county commissioners.

†††† (2) †The clerk, director, and all employees shall be appointed from the competitive class of civil service; provided, however, that any employee now serving and who has not been appointed from the competitive class of civil service shall be in the classified service of the civil service upon passage of this act, P.L.†† , c.†† (pending before the Legislature as this bill).† All persons now employed by the board in the competitive class of civil service and any other employees now performing assigned duties shall hold such employment in the competitive class of civil service.† This paragraph shall apply to a county that has adopted the provisions of Title 11A (Civil Service) of the New Jersey Statutes.

(cf: P.L.2019, c.191, s.1)

 

†††† 2. R.S.19:6-24 is amended to read as follows:

†††† 19:6-24. †[Wherever under the provisions of this Title any powers or duties are given or conferred upon the county boards in counties of the first class, the county board may, if it so determines, authorize or direct the clerk thereof, if there is a clerk, to perform such duties and exercise such powers under its supervision or in its absence.

†††† The clerk of the county board in counties of the first class, if there is a† clerk, shall have full power and authority in the conduct of the business and† clerical affairs of the office of the county board, shall conduct the same in† an impartial manner, and shall exercise full authority and direction over the† employees in the office.]

†††† Wherever under the provisions of this Title any powers or duties are given or conferred upon the county boards in any county, the county board having a clerk pursuant to subsection b. of R.S.19:6-17 may, if it so determines, authorize or direct the clerk thereof to perform such duties and exercise such powers under its supervision or in its absence. The clerk of the county board shall have full power and authority in the conduct of the business and clerical affairs of the office of the county board, shall conduct the same in† an impartial manner, and shall exercise full authority and direction over the† employees in the office.

(cf: P.L.1961, c.59, s.2)

 

†††† 3.††† This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill allows county boards of elections to expand their staff and appoint a clerk, office employees, and a director of such employees at their discretion, subject to the countyís budgetary requirements and approval by the respective board of county commissioners.

†††† The bill provides for the clerk, the director, and all employees to be appointed from the competitive class of civil service, but any employee now serving and who has not been appointed from the competitive class of civil service would be in the classified service of the civil service upon the billís passage. Under the bill, all persons now employed by the board in the competitive class of civil service and any other employees now performing assigned duties would hold such employment in the competitive class of civil service.† This would apply to counties that are covered by the provisions of Title 11A (Civil Service) of the New Jersey Statutes.

†††† The bill also makes technical changes to reflect the name change for the county governing body, from board of chosen freeholders to board of county commissioners.

†††† This bill would allow any county board of elections to expand their staffing further, subject to the county commissionersí approval and the county budget cap. Under current law, N.J.S.A.19:6-21.1, each county board of elections is required to prepare the annual budget request for the office of county board of elections pursuant to N.J.S.A.40A:4-45.45b, which imposes a 2% cap on county budget increases. Board of elections employee salaries are subject to this cap.

†††† Under current law, the board of elections in counties of the first class, the most populous counties, are permitted a limited number of additional staff and a clerk who oversees the day to day operations and staff of the board.† This provision is removed because the bill applies to all counties.