TRENTON – None of the remaining “tool-kit” reform bills proposed by Gov. Chris Christie made it to the Senate agenda for Thursday’s session.
Christie, among other Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., have said there’s a sense of urgency to get some of the proposed reforms enacted.
When asked why they felt the bills were not included when the voting list was released Monday, Adam Bauer, communications director for the Senate Republicans, said, “You will have to ask (Senate President Steve) Sweeney. He said they were garbage.”
Kean had written a letter to Sweeney, with an introductory paragraph congratulating him for “breaking tradition” by holding a full Senate session in April instead of having a full month off. He then wrote about the need to include certain “tool-kit” bills in the session, including sick leave payout reform and shared services.
Among the approximately 15 measures not posted for a vote are S2220, which would limit certain unused sick leave payout and vacation time by public workers before retirement; S2961, which would authorize county superintendents to require implementation of shared service arrangements; S2391, which would allow collective bargaining on measures covered by civil service; S2011, which would eliminate seniority in civil service; and S2135, which would limit the right of appeal on disciplinary actions taken by employers against certain employees.
On sick leave payout prohibition, Kean had written: “Whatever the justification for this practice in the past, it is one that taxpayers can no longer afford and must be ended outright. That any community should have to issue bonds or lay off public safety personnel to pay other employees for unused leave time is outrageous.”
When contacted Monday afternoon, Sweeney’s office referred to an earlier statement: “for some tool-kit bills, the savings is so minuscule as to be almost non-existent. For others, there are no savings. Others don’t even have anything to do with property taxes. As for Civil Service and sick leave payout caps, we passed those … and the one-way governor vetoed them.”