TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Ellen Karcher and Loretta Weinberg which creates the Victims of Crime Compensation Agency (VCCA) within the Department of the Treasury was signed into law today by Governor Jon Corzine.
The VCCA will be comprised of five unpaid members, each being appointed to a three-year term. Currently, the members of the Victims of Crime Compensation Board (VCCB) receive salaries of $110,000 and are eligible for tenure after serving 10 years.
“Money collected through the Victims of Crime Compensation Board should be directed to helping families recover, not feeding a bureaucracy,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “With today’s bill signing, the days of the VCCB acting as a political patronage dumping ground are coming to an end. Now, we will have an agency in place whose sole focus will be on meeting the needs of crime victims and their families, not padding pensions for board members.”
“The road to getting this legislation passed and signed into law has been a long one, but I’m glad that New Jersey has finally seen fit to make it happen,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “The signing of the law to create the “Victims of Crime Compensation Agency” is a step forward for providing necessary services to victims while working to save taxpayer dollars.”
The Senators’ bill, S-218, establishes the VCCA to financially compensate victims of violent crime for expenses they suffer as a result of the crime. The new agency will replace the VCCB and will transfer its duties to the VCCA. The bill also establishes a Victims of Crime Compensation Review board, to review appeals and decisions of the VCCA, and if necessary, award supplemental compensation to victims.
“Currently, the VCCB is running out of money, which means that before long, it would have to dip into the funds reserved for victims to cover the salaries and operating costs of the membership,” said Senator Karcher. “This legislation will work to make sure that the victims receive all of the money allocated to them under the VCCB’s budget.”
According to the State Department of Legislative Services, by revamping the VCCA to make the Board positions unpaid, the State will save $447,000 a year, said Senator Weinberg.