Neighborhood Improvement District (NID) department a division of the city's police department.
According to the ordinance, the NID will continue to be managed by its own director, but the police department's director, James Carter,
will oversee NID functions. In addition, NID employees will have to attend neighborhood meetings and solicit input from residents of
the community, and they will be able to issue summonses to residents when they violate ordinances regarding pets, streets and
sidewalks, solid waste, and vehicles and traffic.
Former Jersey City Mayor and current Republican gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler introduced NID in 1992. It was designed as an
independent department within the city to work with the police department's Office of Community Policing to address and enforce
quality of life issues like noise pollution, loitering, and home maintenance.
Keeping the neighborhood clean and improving the quality of life for city residents has been NID's top priority since the program
started, according to acting NID director Joan Eccleston. In her position for a little more than eight months, Eccleston said she has been
busy working on a smooth transition to the police department, which will allow NID to work more efficiently and have more resources.
NID's employees are residents of the communities they patrol in the city. They are trained by police officers to understand issues in
sanitation control, property maintenance, and street and litter codes.
"They're trained for the general problem-solving of public concern," Eccleston said. "They offer creative solutions to recurring
problems using available city resources."
NID has a familiarity with the community and they try to be customer friendly, Eccleston said. They first educate and warn residents of
an infraction. Then, if the problem has not been solved, they issue a written warning. If the problem continues for 10 days after the
warning, then a $102 summons is issued.
"On average, the monthly fines by summonses issued generate $12,000 in revenue for the city," Eccleston said. "We've established a
collaboration with the City Council and residents who enjoy the ability to call our office to identify a problem and have our office
investigate and issue summonses where appropriate."
Bill Ayala, chief of staff for Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham, said he is confident the ordinance will get the approval of the council
at its second and final hearing at the next council meeting on Nov. 7. The move to make NID a division of the police department is an
effort to avoid having NID and the Office of Community Policing double up their resources with the same quality-of-life concerns by city
residents, Ayala said.
"The City Council has to adopt the ordinance to put NID under the police," Ayala said. "All we're doing is going back to the way it
Ayala said that since its inception, NID has been criticized by some city officials who saw the department as an avenue for Schundler to
put members of his campaign on the city's payroll.
"NID was a phony department that took functions from other departments," Ayala said. "At one point it employed over 100 people."
Eccleston would not comment on allegations related to NID's creation. She said there are no expected layoffs as a result of the move.
"Mayor Cunningham has decided that NID will become a part of the police department organization," Eccleston said. "We'll handle the
enforcement of municipal codes that are the first and beginning signs of disorder."