As reported on November 23, 2010, New Jersey’s Democratic leaders announced they are offering compromise legislation to Republican Governor Chris Christie that would allow pay hikes for police and firefighters achieved through arbitration to exceed two (2) percent for a year, as long as they remain within two (2) percent over the period of a contract. Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver unveiled the proposal at the Statehouse and said it also calls for the cap to be removed after three years, the average length of police and firefighter contracts, to allow the State to gauge its effectiveness.

Shortly after, Gov. Christie, who wants a flat annual 2 percent cap for police and firefighters salary increases, described the legislation as “watered down” and threatened to veto any Democratic version of legislation designed to hold down property taxes if he decided it is not “real reform.” Christie has introduced a 33-bill “tool kit” to lower property taxes and the Democrats who control the Legislature are offering their own versions. Any compromises are expected to be worked out before legislators adjourn for the year-end holidays.

The Sweeney-Oliver legislation would require pay for longevity, length of service, salary increments and other similar compensation to be included in the 2 percent cap. It would also require all contracts that expire in the three-year window to adhere to the cap, to prevent the purposeful stalling of contract negotiations. The proposal would also change the process for selecting an arbitrator for interest arbitration and change the process by which judgments are appealed.

Please continue to check this blog periodically to ascertain any updates regarding any and all legislation pertaining to police and firefighters.