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Publicly Funded Entity Must be Held Accountable

Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell has introduced legislation aimed at restoring public confidence in the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC). As an Assemblyman for two communities served by the PVSC, O’Donnell believes his legislation will establish both transparency and accountability.

“The events and practices at PVSC that have come to light within the past few months have been unacceptable. As a public entity, PVSC needs to be held to a higher standard of accountability to the people it serves,” said Assemblyman O’Donnell, (D-31). “This legislation will revise the law governing the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners and ensure that their business is conducted in full view of the public.”

Bill A-3820 will establish the following:

· Commissioners must come from member communities and must be an equal number from each county served;

· Commissioners can serve for only a single five-year term and may not be reappointed;

· Authority budget and annual capital plan must be submitted to governing bodies of member communities for review and approval;

· Budget must contain a list of all employees who earn over $75,000 per year and a description of their duties;

· No pay or benefits will be provided for commissioners;

· Commissioners may not be employed by the authority they serve for five years after their term expires;

· Meetings must be taped and a video of the authority’s proceedings must be made available within 48 hours for broadcast in member communities; and,

· Annual budget, audit, agendas and meeting minutes must be made available on the agencies website.

O’Donnell stated that by having Commissioners from the communities that pay the PVSC bills, there is more likely to be a sense of responsibility for the actions of the Commissioners.

“I think that these measures go a long way towards eliminating any future possibility of an entrenched, faceless bureaucracy that operates without public scrutiny,” said O’Donnell. “Our citizens and businesses who pay the PVSC’s charges should be able to have confidence that their money is being well spent.”