Citing the continued economic difficulties faced by many New Jerseyans and the need to constrain the cost of government at all levels, Governor Chris Christie, joined by both Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. and Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce, today announced that gubernatorial and Republican leader appointments from each house of the Legislature to the Public Officers Salary Review Commission will remain unfilled. The seven-member Commission convenes every four years to review the salaries of various public officials within the three branches of government and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on potential increases.
Absent gubernatorial and Republican leader appointments, the panel will be prevented from convening or considering any potential salary increases. The Governor is authorized to make two appointments and the four leaders of the Legislature and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are each authorized to make one appointment to the panel.
“As job creation and economic growth begin to take hold, too many New Jerseyans are still struggling. At a time where we are asking everyone to do more with less, it would be inappropriate and send the absolute wrong message to the people of our state for Trenton politicians to consider giving themselves pay raises, given the current economic realities,” said Governor Christie. “As such, I will not appoint any individuals to the Public Officers Salary Review Commission. I am pleased that both Senator Kean and Assemblyman DeCroce will join me in this effort and remove entirely the possibility of commission-recommended pay increases to move forward for those serving in public office.”
“I believe it would be inappropriate to appoint anyone to the Public Officers Salary Review Commission, at this time,” said Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean. “This commission was established to determine what raises, if any, should be given to high-level state employees, like cabinet members and judges. The State should not consider giving raises to high-level appointees during these difficult economic times.”
In joining the Governor, Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce said, “With a 9.4 percent unemployment rate in New Jersey, it would be highly inappropriate and insensitive to convene a commission charged with recommending whether a group of public employees deserves increased compensation. We must focus on the challenge of creating good-paying jobs for people who are out of work, struggling to make ends meet, and just want an opportunity to feed their families. Our priority must be finding a job for those who need it, not giving a raise to public workers who already have one.”
Public officials salaries reviewed by the Commission include the Governor, cabinet officers, members of the Board of Public Utilities, members of the Casino Control Commission, Workers' Compensation judges, members of the Legislature, members of the State Commission of Investigation, Justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the Superior Court, judges of the Tax Court, administrative law judges and county prosecutors.