TRENTON – Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said today’s adoption of an emergency rule by the Civil Service Commission to give state and local governments the ability to mandate furloughs for employees is further evidence that part-time members of boards and commissions should also waive a portion of their salary and benefits.
Weinberg is the author of a Senate Resolution urging board and commission members who work fewer than 25 hours per week to forgo their pay or per diem for three months as part of an effort to help close a gap in the state budget. The resolution (SR-114) also calls on them to reimburse the boards, commissions, and authorities for three months’ worth of pension contributions paid by the public entity into a state-run retirement system.
“The Civil Service Commission called the state’s situation what it is: an emergency,” Senator Weinberg said. “The statement the commission adopted spells out the need for immediate measures and warns of the dangers if steps are not taken, specifically, lay-offs.
“Public employees at all levels of government and all parts of the state are being asked to make real sacrifices and accept real pain to help the state get through this financial crisis,” she said. “It is fair and appropriate to expect the people who have been fortunate to be named to publicly funded boards and commissions to contribute to our efforts to get through the current economic crisis.
“In many cases, the people who serve on these boards and commissions have other sources of income and are therefore in a better position to absorb the financial loss,” Senator Weinberg said. “We are grateful for their service, but we expect them to join the rest of us in helping shoulder the burden of helping the state survive this extraordinarily difficult period and emerge stronger.”
Weinberg pointed out some boards and commissions meet just a few times during the course of the year. In addition to their pay for part-time positions, many include eligibility for public pensions and health benefits.
Senator Weinberg noted state workers are being told they will have to take two unpaid furlough days before the end of the current fiscal year, June 30, and one unpaid furlough day per month for the budget year that begins July 1.
“Asking the people serving in these largely part-time positions to also contribute to our efforts is the fair thing to do,” Senator Weinberg said. “I think the Civil Service Commission’s action today shows how urgent the need is for all of us to work together, including the members of these boards and commissions.”
The list of paid board and commissions includes, among others, the Council on Affordable Housing, the Local Finance Board, the Civil Service Commission, the N.J. Public Employment Relations Commission, the N.J. Real Estate Commission, the Casino Reinvestment Authority, the N.J. Maritime Pilot and Docking Pilot Commission, county boards of taxation, and the various sewer and water authorities operating around the state.