Association Staff

Michael W. Klein, JD, PhD
Chief Executive Officer

Barbara Berreski, Esq.
Government & Legal Affairs

Paul R. Shelly
Communications & Marketing

Wendy A. Lang
Programs & Policy Initiatives

Support Staff:

Patricia A. Stearman
Budget & Administration

Charlene R. Pipher
Executive Assistant

Theresa M. Toth
Contact Info
New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities
150 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608

Phone: (609) 989-1100
Fax: (609) 989-7017

State College/University Legislative Goals 2013


Labor and Personnel


Exempt the employees of the state colleges and universities from Civil Service.


n The state colleges could more quickly fill important positions and administer their workforce needs without restrictions imposed by the Civil Service rules. 
n Between 25% and 45% of the employees at each state college and university are in Civil Service status, and each institution's board of trustees is required to follow the Civil Service rules for these employees.  Having different rules for different employees creates administrative, managerial, and morale concerns at the state colleges and universities.  Moreover, the work environment at a state college or university is wholly different than the usual state agency, and one in which the Civil Service rules are difficult to apply.
n The state colleges and universities are the only sector of public higher education that must follow Civil Service rules for some of their employees. Rutgers, NJIT, UMDNJ, and the county colleges do not have employees classified under Civil Service titles.


Designate the state colleges and universities as the employer of record of their employees for the purpose of collective bargaining (C.18A:64-21.1)


n Make the collective-bargaining laws for public higher education in New Jersey consistent. The other senior public institutions, Rutgers and the New Jersey Institute of Technology both conduct their own negotiations. Each county college conducts its own negotiations as well. 
n Place each state college and university in charge of collective bargaining with its workforce will help the institutions reach agreements that reflect the interests of their campuses, rather than state government's statewide bargaining goals. The current centralized bargaining structure forces the state colleges and universities to conform to statewide parameters that may not fit the needs of the students, faculty, and staff of the institutions. 
n Campus-based negotiations will lead to more meaningful dialogue between the administration and the bargaining units of each institution. Over the past 35 years, since the State College Autonomy Act, the state colleges have developed and expanded distinct and different missions. Campus-based bargaining will result in negotiated agreements that address the distinctive needs and requirements of each institution. The legislation equally and equitably enhances the authority of the state college and university presidents and the institutions' locals. 
n A major advantage of the proposal will be to more closely link educational policy aspects of the labor contracts to the economic conditions of each state college and university. 


Extend probationary tenure under the State and County College Tenure Act from five years to seven years.


n Under current law, tenure-track faculty receive final notice of reappointment in the fall of their fifth year. This means that the review for tenure is based on only four years of work. The state colleges and universities believe that four years is insufficient time -- compared to national standards and to policies at Rutgers, NJIT, and UMDNJ -- to assess a faculty member's capacity to make a contribution to the institution under a long career. 
n Under national standards recommended by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the probationary period for tenure, beginning with appointment to the rank of full-time instructor, should not exceed seven years. 
n Legislative reform provides benefits to the faculty member and the institution. Tenure-track faculty members would have more time to develop and demonstrate abilities for consideration for tenure. State colleges and universities would have more information on which to base an important decision that grants long-term employment at their institution. 


Public-Private Partnerships for Facilities


The statutory sunset of the public-private partnership provision of the New Jersey Economic Development Act of 2009 should be lengthened and eventually eliminated.


n ASCU strongly supports legislation which gives more time to state colleges and universities to enter partnerships with private enterprises to build or improve facilities on campus. 
n The partnerships help state colleges build facilities with fewer delays and with more cost-effectiveness. Legislation recently signed into law, supported with bipartisan leadership, extends the deadline for applications for such projects to August 2013. The original legislation, the New Jersey Economic Development Act of 2009, provided an 18-month window of opportunity through temporary suspension of provisions of the State College Contracts Law. The suspension of the contracts law was extended to August 1, 2013 as a result of additional legislation enacted in 2012.
n One recent example of how current public-private partnership legislation is helping can be found at Ramapo College of New Jersey. The college has entered a partnership with a private entity that will fund the capital cost of replacing aging roofs on several campus buildings, an estimated $9.325 million expense. The private firm will receive, in addition to tax credits, a return on its investment through the sale of renewable energy to the college. 
n The first project under the Economic Development Act is "The Heights" at Montclair State University. The project, located at the north end of the campus, consists of two complexes, each of which has four residential buildings and features common areas including a state of the art dining facility. The project will provide residence for 2,000 more students, bringing the total number of residents to 5,000. 
n Applications for partnership programs are made through the NJ Economic Development Authority. Necessary elements of the partnership include the higher education institution's retention of full ownership of the lands involved. 


Goods and Services Contracts


1. Increase public bid threshold from $30,100 to at least $50,000 (C.18A:64-54).  
2. Expand public bid waiver categories to include banking, financial, and travel services (C.18A:64-56). 
3. Extend contract terms from 5 years to 30 years for contracts related to: (1) the purchase, lease, and maintenance of information technology; (2) insurance; (3) banking and financial services; and (4) facilities management (C.18A:64-79). 
4. Eliminate the requirement for contractors to obtain and provide business registration certificates (C.52:32-44). This process is costly, time-consuming, and does not improve transparency. 


Evaluation of Bids under State College Contracts Law


1. Revise "lowest responsible bid" contracting requirement for construction projects to permit award based on "price and other factors" (C.18A:64-76.1.b). 
2. Revise the requirement to award goods and services contracts to the "responsible bidder whose bid ... will be most advantageous to the state college, price and other factors considered" by defining "responsible" and "advantageous" (C.18A:64-70). 


Tax Matters


1. Eliminate sales tax on parking fees paid by commuter students to park on campus (C.54:32B-3(i)) (A-3417). University employees and resident students are exempt from sales tax on parking services. This tax should be eliminated so that commuting students are on parity with resident students. 
2. Eliminate the requirement that state colleges and universities pay sales tax on natural gas purchases (C.54:32B-9(c)(3)) (A-3419). 


Plan Review and Field Inspections


The state should review and improve Division of Codes and Standards' plan review and field inspections under the Department of Community Affairs. The waiting time for approval under these processes can take up to six months, and delivery of service is erratic and unpredictable. As a result, projects are significantly delayed, creating excessive additional costs for the campuses and the inability to plan when a project will be completed for use by students and faculty.


In order to provide an urgently needed fix to this critical situation, DCA should be:


1. required by statute, regulation or executive order, as appropriate, to accomplish plan reviews and process documents, including outbound transmittals to the originating applicant, within 20 business days of receipt, and to provide field inspections within 72 hours of a request for such inspection; 
2. authorized and required to outsource these responsibilities to non-governmental private firms that possess the requisite DCA licenses to perform such work within those specified timeframes if DCA cannot, with any costs caused by DCA's failure to meet the timeframes recoverable by the institution from DCA; and 
3. required to improve the Division of Codes and Standards' plan review and field inspections procedures. When the DCA approves a plan and then a DCA field inspector reviewing a site built in accordance with that plan concludes that a non-code compliant issue exists, DCA should be responsible for resolving the difference so that the institution need not delay construction or incur additional costs.