Sunday, September 10, 2006

Asm Jerry Green - Legislature - Bill to make Chiefs of Police contractual employees

What follows is the unaltered text of a press release from the Assembly Majority Office dated 3/15/2006. -- Dan



Removes Tenure for Police Chiefs;

Establishes 'Chiefs of Police Performance Evaluation Commission'

(TRENTON) - Assembly Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green today announced the introduction of legislation that would make it easier for municipalities to remove police chiefs who are incompetent or who fail to meet performance goals.

"Our current laws do more to protect and serve bad chiefs of police than they do to protect and serve the public," said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). "Current laws are antiquated, counterproductive and an impediment when municipalities attempt to deliver better services at less cost to taxpayers."

The Green bill (A-2864) would do two things: make municipal chiefs of police contractual employees and create a "Chiefs of Police Performance Evaluation Commission" to oversee the performance of police chiefs in
New Jersey municipalities.

Under current law, municipal chiefs of police are tenured employees and can be removed from office only for incapacity, misconduct, or disobedience of the police department's rules and regulations.

The measure would require municipalities to hire chiefs of police on a three-to-five-year contractual basis. At the end of the contract, the chief would be automatically reappointed unless the municipality decides to renew the contract for a different term or the municipality determines the chief has failed to adequately address deficiencies highlighted in a performance evaluation.

"With virtually no oversight and no real threat of repercussion for poor performance, it is easy for even the most stalwart chief of police to become lax and complacent upon receiving tenure," said Green. "Making police chiefs contractual employees and creating a system to review their performance ensures that police departments and the public have effective leaders they can trust."

The legislation also would create a Chiefs of Police Performance Evaluation Commission in the state Division of Criminal Justice. The commission's primary function would be to conduct performance evaluations of municipal chiefs of police.

The commission would consist of 12 members: two public members with expertise in personnel management and administration, who would be appointed to three-year terms by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate; the president or authorized representative of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, the New Jersey State Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the New Jersey State Lodge, the Fraternal Order of Police, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities and the New Jersey Conference of Mayors; the Attorney General; the Superintendent of State Police; the Commissioner of Personnel; and the Commissioner of Labor.

It would be required to adopt rules and regulations concerning the performance evaluations, which would include the size and population of a municipality, the size of its police force, and the local crime rate.

The commission would conduct a performance evaluation of every police chief at least one year before their respective contracts expire. The evaluation would assess whether a police chief is satisfactorily managing the routine day-to-day operation of a municipal police department, implementing the policies of the appropriate governing authority and complying with the rules and regulations established for the government of the police force. Copies of the evaluation would be sent to each police chief, who would then meet with their municipal appointing authority to discuss the findings.

Under the bill, a municipality may refuse to renew the contract of a police chief if the individual fails to adequately address deficiencies detailed in an unsatisfactory performance evaluation within one year of that evaluation.

The bill also allows municipalities to request a performance review of their police chief within the first year the legislation is enacted into law to determine whether the individual is performing satisfactorily.

Any chief found to be unsatisfactorily performing his or her duties would be subject to removal from office by the municipal appointing authority. However, the bill is not intended to affect the tenure rights which police chiefs may have accrued prior to its enactment. If a chief of police is removed from office, they would be able to continue to serve as a member of the police department in a different position or capacity.

Green introduced the measure in response to complaints from municipal officials who are frustrated and aggravated by state laws that make it difficult to deal with poor or inept chiefs of police.

"Protecting the public is hard, thankless work and we recognize that," said Green. "However, we must send a message that we will not tolerate substandard leadership and conduct from police chiefs. In a post 9/11 world, putting complacency before public safety is a risk we cannot afford to take."


The Legislature's site is here

A2864 Makes chief of police contractual municipal employee and establishes in Department of Criminal Justice "Chiefs of Police Performance Evaluation Commission."

Green, Jerry as Primary Sponsor
Epps, Charles T. as Co-Sponsor
Manzo, Louis M. as Co-Sponsor
Cryan, Joseph as Co-Sponsor
Diegnan, Patrick J. as Co-Sponsor
Voss, Joan M. as Co-Sponsor
Conners, Jack as Co-Sponsor
Greenwald, Louis D. as Co-Sponsor
Conaway, Herb as Co-Sponsor
Payne, William D. as Co-Sponsor
Caraballo, Wilfredo as Co-Sponsor
Hackett, Mims as Co-Sponsor
Pou, Nellie as Co-Sponsor
Steele, Alfred E. as Co-Sponsor
Wisniewski, John S. as Co-Sponsor

James Sverapa IV
Press Secretary
Assembly Majority Office
Ph: 609-292-7065
Fax: 609-292-2386

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About Me

Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.