State Sens. Jennifer Beck, (R-12), Monmouth/Mercer, and Kevin O’Toole, (R-40), Essex/Bergen/Passaic, have submitted legislation that establishes gubernatorial veto power over the state’s independent authorities, commissions, and utilities. The legislation mirrors Gov. Chris Christie’s “Shadow Government Reform” plan.
“Taxpayers and ratepayers are charged millions of dollars per year by autocratic boards and commissions that answer to nobody under a guise of ‘’independence,’” said Beck in a release. “In some cases, these bodies have been corrupt and wasteful. The executive branch can serve an additional check and provide final oversight over these entities.”
The bill, S2836, would apply to multijurisdictional authorities such as the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission and the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.
In addition to establishing executive veto authority, the legislation also would eliminate compensation for commissioners, subject the body to routine audits and review by the State Comptroller, and require compliance with State Ethics Commission standards.
“While the excesses of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission have gained the most notoriety, there are dozens of bodies that charge fees and taxes without any oversight or accountability to residents,” said O’Toole in a release. “This bill will transform independent authorities into efficient public service enterprises.”