VAINIERI HUTTLE & JOHNSON CONTINUE TO SEEK STRICTER OVERSIGHT OF PASSAIC VALLEY SEWERAGE COMMISSION

(ENGLEWOOD) – Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Gordon Johnson on Friday announced they’ve re-introduced legislation to increase oversight and control of the troubled Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.

The bill (A-952) comes amid continued questions about the commission’s spending.

Its executive director makes $313,000 per year, making him the highest-paid employee in the state pension system. Questions have also been raised about the commission’s hiring of consultants even though it has a professional staff.

Vainieri Huttle and Johnson (both D-Bergen) have long sought more controls over the commission and said their bill would shine more light on its activities. They first introduced the bill together in January 2006.

“Taxpayers have rightfully had it with wasteful government spending, and this authority has long been making itself the poster child for that complaint,” Vainieri Huttle said. “It’s getting tiresome, and quite simply it isn’t too much to ask for this commission to do basic things like maintain meeting minutes and subject itself to stricter oversight.”

“Taxpayers have a right to expect their money is being spent wisely, but this commission hasn’t done much to give taxpayers that confidence,” Johnson said. “Increased public scrutiny and stricter oversight are never bad things and it’s long past time they came to this commission.”

Under the bill:

·Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners would have to maintain minutes of any meeting or hearing and submit these minutes to the Governor for approval.

·No action can be taken unless it is taken at a meeting or hearing for which minutes are provided.

·The Governor would have the authority to review the minutes and approve or veto them within 15 days of receiving the minutes.

·No action taken at any meeting or public hearing may take effect until the 15-day period has elapsed, unless the Governor approves the minutes in less than 15 days.

·If the Governor has not notified the commissioners of a veto of the minutes, the minutes and any action taken at that meeting or public hearing to which the minutes correspond shall take effect.

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