Friday, December 17, 2010

Christie: Efforts To Privatize NJ TV Network Advance

Moving forward with the next steps in securing the future for public broadcasting in New Jersey, Governor Christie today took several actions aimed at carrying out the Administration’s goal of transitioning New Jersey Network into an independent broadcast entity that will continue to serve a New Jersey-centric programming mission, without taxpayer subsidy.

These steps include: the signing of the New Jersey Public Broadcasting System Transfer Act; the direct appointment of three members to the reconstituted New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority, as provided for in the Act; and, the temporary suspension of layoffs for NJN employees while the transition process develops.

“Today, we are taking the next steps to secure the future of New Jersey public television as an independent public media organization able to stand on its own without any continuing taxpayer subsidy,” said Governor Christie. “In addition to our work already underway, these actions today pave the way for New Jersey focused programming to continue uninterrupted while New Jersey Network’s transition to a free-standing institution is completed.”

Governor Christie signed S-2406, the New Jersey Public Broadcasting System Transfer Act, a bill modeled on the Christie Administration’s proposal submitted to the legislature in September to accomplish the conversion of New Jersey Network from a government body to an independent entity, either to a non-profit corporation or through an agreement with an existing public broadcasting entity.

The Department of Treasury will be responsible for implementing the law, aspects of which is already underway, including:

· compiling an inventory of the authority’s and foundation’s assets and liabilities;

· identifying the methods or mechanisms required to transfer assets and liabilities;

· receiving and approving proposals for the transfer of any or all of the authority’s or foundation’s assets; and

· assuring that the successor to NJN can fulfill the responsibilities of a maintaining a New Jersey-focused public broadcasting operation.

In addition, Governor Christie today named the following three individuals to serve on the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority, effective immediately:

· Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff

· John Inglesino, Rockaway, New Jersey

· Anthony Della Pelle, Morristown, New Jersey

S-2406 provides for the current membership of the Authority to be sunset and reconstituted. These appointments represent the three direct appointments authorized by the Governor under the new statute. Two additional members will be appointed to provide for the remaining membership, one by the Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem) and one by the Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic).

Finally, Governor Christie also announced that the layoff plan for NJN employees, initiated in September in accordance with existing collective bargaining agreements, Civil Service Commission rules and regulations, and with the goals of moving NJN from a government body to an independent entity, will be temporarily suspended to provide for the continued temporary operation of NJN while the transition is completed.

Senate sponsors of the legislation are Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem) and Joseph Kyrillos Jr. (R-Monmouth) and in the Assembly it was sponsored by Assemblymembers Lou Greenwald (D-Camden), Alex DeCroce (R-Morris and Passaic) and Upendra Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex).  

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