Governor Chris Christie signed a conditional veto of a civil service reform bill advanced by the legislature, citing its failure to include the critically needed opt-out and furlough options for municipalities.
“This bill represents tepid, ineffective and meaningless change,” the Governor said in his veto message on the bill, A-3590. “I proposed real reform which would give local officials another tool to constrain property taxes. The legislature has sent me special interest approved ‘reform’ that will do nothing to constrain property taxes. The time for real reform of civil service is overdue. I cannot and will not sign this bill in this form.”
In May last year, Governor Christie proposed a comprehensive set of proposals – the property tax reform tool kit – to empower local governments to control their biggest cost drivers and contributors to property tax increases. Among the most important of those recommendations was reform of New Jersey’s antiquated civil service system.
While the bill includes some useful provisions, according to the Christie adminstration, – such as extending the working test period, providing for 9-month seasonal appointments and making terminal leave payments optional under certain circumstances – the bill fails to deliver the fundamental civil service reform provided in the Governor’s tool kit of reforms.