Thirteen Essex County mayors — including Sheena Collum, Village President of South Orange; Victor DeLuca, Mayor of Maplewood, and Cheryl Burstein, Mayor of Millburn — have joined Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo in a letter to Governor-Elect Phil Murphy “strongly” encouraging him “to support the extension or permanent implementation of the 2% cap on police and fire interest arbitration awards.”
“As you are undoubtedly aware,” the letter reads, “the current extension of the 2% arbitration cap expires in less than a month; this has already caused significant uncertainty in labor negotiations and, by extension, preparation of our municipal budgets.”
“Without the 2% arbitration cap in place, the fate of local and county government will be left in the hands of unelected arbitrators with no effective recourse to appeal adverse decisions,” the letter continues. “Any arbitration awards in excess of 2%, when coupled with the 2% property tax cap, will unavoidably and negatively impact the level of services we can provide to our residents.”
Read the full letter below.
The letter is remarkable in that Essex County is a Democratic stronghold and Democrats in the NJ Assembly have been seen as holding up the extension of the cap. NJ’s Police and fire unions supported Murphy in the recent gubernatorial election. A bipartisan group of mayors signed the letter. Although South Orange’s elections are non-partison, Collum is active in Democratic politics and endorsed Murphy along with other Democrats like DeLuca, Burstein, Shawn Klein of Livingston, Tony Vauss of Irvington and Robert Jackson of Montclair; John Duthie of Roseland, James Gasparini of Fairfield and Joseph Tempesta of West Caldwell are Repbulicans (Verona and West Orange hold non-partisan elections).