JERSEY CITY - When Jersey City business administrator Jack Kelly told the Jersey City Reporter last week that a merger of the city's Public Works department (DPW) with the Jersey City Incinerator Authority (JCIA) was "unlikely" to be put to a vote in January as the city studies comments by state officials, it turns out that was just part of the story.
The state's Division of Local Government Services sent a letter on Dec. 9 to assistant business administrator Greg Corrado informing the city should hold off on their merger until it addresses several issues. The state was responding specifically to the city wanting to give employees, who would be laid off as a result of the proposed merger, a one-year service credit in their pension.
The letter by Thomas Neff, the director of Local Government Services, found that the city's application for a "Early Retirement Incentive Program" was not acceptable because state statute does not allow for pension credit to be given in a situation where there is a shared service agreement, not the case in this merger; the list of employees the city wants to give pension credit includes those with less than 20 years of service, and the Jan. 1 date initially set for the merger was not enough time for the state to analyze the cost savings.
Kelly, in a letter sent yesterday to Neff as well as the City Council, Mayor Jerramiah Healy and other officials, said the city's administration will take "no immediate action" to consolidate the DPW with the JCIA. He also in the letter called for both the DPW Director Rodney Hadley and JCIA Executive Director Oren Dabney to start cutting $2.7 million in their respective budgets to achieve savings while the merger continues to be worked out. - Ricardo Kaulessar