Assembly To Consider Bills Revising Arbitration & Limiting Sick Leave Payouts

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TRENTON– The General Assembly on Monday will vote on legislation that would revise the state’s contract arbitration system for police and firefighters and limit unused sick leave payouts for all public workers.

It will also consider bills to make it easier for local governments to hire laid off law enforcement officers, help residents suffering under foreclosure scams, encourage the purchase of “Jersey Fresh” agricultural products and help protect scholastic athletes from head injuries.

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The 1 p.m. session will be streamed live at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/live_audio.asp.

Legislation (A-3393) to reform the state’s arbitration system tops the agenda. Among its provisions, the arbitration bill would:

  • Establish “last offer” as the terminal procedure for resolving contractual impasses between public employers and their police and fire departments, under which each side would present their final offer, with the arbitrator selecting one as the final agreement. This form of arbitration is generally viewed as forcing both sides in a dispute to be more realistic in their proposals and less likely to freeze negotiations prior to the arbitration stage.
  • Make the new two-percent property tax levy cap a key item for consideration by an arbitrator when making decisions.
  • Require arbitrator decisions to be accompanied by a written report explaining in detail how each of the statutory criteria played into their determination of the final award.  Such report shall certify that the arbitrator took the local levy cap into account in making the award.

The measure does not include a two-percent cap on arbitration awards that is favored by Republicans. The bill could be vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie if it passes the Legislature without that cap.

Also on tap is legislation to prohibit current and future officers and employees of boards of education and local governments from receiving more than $15,000 of supplemental compensation at retirement for accumulated unused sick leave.

The Assembly will also consider legislation to permit hiring without having to go through a Civil Service list law enforcement officers that have been laid off for reasons of economy.

Also on the agenda is a bill (A-359) to protect homeowners from “foreclosure rescue” scams perpetrated by unscrupulous lenders and consultants.

Legislation (A-2342) to encourage the purchase of “Jersey Fresh” and other New Jersey agricultural products by state agencies, departments and facilities will also be considered.

Legislation to create an awareness program on the prevention, risk and treatment of sports-related brain injuries will be considered for final legislative approval.

The complete Assembly agenda can  be found at:             http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/legislativepub/legcal.asp


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