STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2020 SESSION
Senator THOMAS H. KEAN, JR.
District 21 (Morris, Somerset and Union)
Establishes New Jersey General Accounting Office.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.
An Act establishing a New Jersey General Accounting Office and supplementing chapter 24 of Title 52 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. There is established a New Jersey General Accounting Office under the supervision of the State Auditor. The General Accounting Office shall have the following powers and duties:
a. Make performance reviews and program analyses of operations of State agencies to ascertain that sums appropriated have been, or are being expended for the purposes for which such appropriations were made, determine if waste or mismanagement of funds or fraud in the receipt, expenditure or accounting of funds has occurred, and evaluate the effectiveness of programs in accomplishing legislative intent;
b. Study on a continuing basis the operations, practices and duties of State agencies, as they relate to efficiency in the utilization of space, personnel, equipment and facilities;
c. Make such special studies and reports of the operations and functions of State agencies as it deems appropriate and as may be requested by the Legislature;
d. Make such reports on its findings and recommendations at such time and in such manner as the office deems proper submitting same to the agencies concerned, to the Governor, the Legislature and the public. Such reports as are submitted shall relate to the following matters:
(1) Ways in which the agencies may operate more economically and efficiently;
(2) Ways in which agencies can provide better services to the State of New Jersey and to its citizens; and
(3) Areas in which functions of State agencies are duplicative, overlapping, or failing to accomplish legislative objectives or for any other reason should be redefined or redistributed.
e. Any member or committee of the Legislature may at any time request in writing that the office undertake a performance review, program analysis or special study of a State agency or program. The office shall establish priorities and schedule which reviews, analyses and studies will be made in order to assure the orderly conduct of the business of the office and its professional staff.
2. The General Accounting Office shall prepare supplementary studies and reports of the program reviews and evaluations in the following manner:
a. At least once in each biennium and at such other times as the office deems necessary, a report shall be made to the Legislature which includes: (1) annotations of reports previously issued; (2) a summary of significant actions taken by executive agencies in response to reports and recommendations previously issued; and (3) matters pertaining to the report topics that may require additional legislative attention and consideration.
b. From time to time, agencies involved in matters which have been studied under the provisions of this act may be required to communicate to the office at a hearing called for such purpose or in writing, the status of actions completed or being taken in response to reports and recommendations previously issued.
c. In the event a report of the office cites waste, extravagance, unauthorized activities, or other significant deficiencies which result in the misuse of public funds, a supplementary report shall be made at such time as the office deems appropriate, which provides the Legislature with: (1) a review of the problem; (2) recommendations to correct the problem; (3) actions taken or planned by the agency to correct the problem; and (4) such other matters as may require additional legislative attention to correct the problem. Supplementary reports published by the office shall be issued to the Governor, agencies concerned, the members of the Legislature and the public.
3. a. The General Accounting Office shall establish a schedule for the review of functional areas of State government. A functional area shall consist of a grouping of interrelated State governmental activities, programs and agencies, and may involve any agency, authority, political subdivision, board, department, division, commission, institution, bureau or similar governmental entity of the State, and any entity, public or private, with which any of the foregoing has entered into a contractual relationship to accomplish a governmental purpose or which has received financial assistance from any of the foregoing.
b. The office shall schedule the functional areas of State government for review and evaluation on a seven-year cycle, beginning in the first full calendar year following the effective date of this act.
4. a. Prior to the year in which a functional area of government is designated to be scheduled for review, the General Accounting Office shall identify to the extent feasible the agencies, programs or activities selected for review and evaluation from the functional area.
b. To ensure coordination of the review and evaluation activity with appropriate committees, the office may invite General Assembly and Senate standing reference committees to participate in designing such studies as will be carried out from the scheduled functional areas.
5. a. Each study carried out pursuant to this act shall consider, as required: that there is a valid public need for the program or agency; that legislative intent is being carried out; that program and agency performance has been in the public interest; that program objectives have been defined; that intended program outcomes are measurable and have been accomplished; that program and agency operations are managed efficiently, economically, and effectively; or such other specific criteria as the office deems necessary and desirable.
b. Agency self-studies may be required in such form and manner as may be directed by the office.
6. For the purpose of carrying out its duties under this act and notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, the General Accounting Office shall have access to the records and facilities of every entity whose operations are financed in whole or in part by State funds to the extent that such records and facilities are related to the expenditure of such funds. All State entities shall cooperate with the office and, when requested, shall provide specific information in the form requested.
7. The General Accounting Office shall publish and submit its reports with appropriate findings and recommendations to the Governor and members of the Legislature and shall make them available to the public.
8. All State agencies, their staff and employees shall provide the General Accounting Office with necessary information for the performance of its duties, and to afford the office's staff ample opportunity to observe agency operations.
9. The General Accounting Office may associate with such outside experts as it may deem necessary to advise it with respect to what public or private business practices can be adopted to achieve greater economies and more efficient service.
This bill establishes a New Jersey General Accounting Office under the supervision of the State Auditor. The General Accounting Office will make performance reviews and program analyses of operations of State agencies and conduct studies and issue reports on the effectiveness of State agencies and programs. The office will also review each of the various functional areas of State government over a seven-year period.