27 Feb: Norcross Bill To Remove Statutory Barriers To Shared Services Clears Community And Urban Affairs Committee

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) that would remove barriers to local shared services by ensuring that municipalities are able to streamline positions, including certain positions held by employees with tenure, in order to carry out a shared services agreement meant to lower costs was approved unanimously today by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

Called the “Common Sense Shared Services Act,” the bill (S-533) would revise current law to provide that a municipal clerk, chief financial officer, assessor, tax collector, public works manager, or municipal treasurer that has tenure may be removed to effectuate a shared service agreement. The bill stems from a situation in Audubon, Camden County, in which the municipality formed a shared services agreement with the neighboring borough of Magnolia and removed its municipal clerk as part of the process. The official sued the town to get her job back and won. As a result, Audubon was required to rehire the clerk.

“Towns and cities that have identified cost savings through shared services must be given the tools to carry out those agreements in the best interest of their residents,” said Senator Norcross. “Requiring a municipality to continue to employ certain workers solely because they have tenure is counterproductive. This measure will remove barriers to shared services faced by towns such as Audubon and allow them to take the action that is necessary to save taxpayers money.”