Governor Phil Murphy came to Drew on Tuesday, Nov. 27 for the Shared Services Symposium which was held in the Concert Hall. The symposium focused on smaller towns in New Jersey beginning to share municipal services with each other in an attempt to help reduce New Jersey’s property tax. The event was for government officials around New Jersey to learn more about shared services and how to utilize them in their communities. The event, sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), was meant to demonstrate the renewed commitment from the State of New Jersey to help its communities expand shared services ideas and bring them to fruition, according to the official press release for the event.
COURTESY OF DREW UNIVERSITY
The symposium started with an introduction by President Baenninger and a panel of different members of the DCA. The panel included Jordan Glatt, one of the Shared Services Czar; a Drew graduate, Nick Platt, the other Shared Services Czar; Marc Pfeiffer, Assistant Director of the Bloustein Local Government Research Center; Rob Long, DCA Deputy Commissioner; Melanie Walter, Local Government Services Director and Rick Richardella, State Fiscal Monitor of Atlantic City and former police chief. After each panelist had an opportunity to present, the floor was opened for questions. There were 72 people in attendance, each in some position of local government across New Jersey.
Governor Murphy addressed the audience after the lunch break. After being introduced by Madison Mayor Bob Conley, who explained that the town is one of the leaders for shared services, Murphy took the stage saying: “I’m excited to see so many leaders who understand that it isn’t what you can do by yourself that’s important, but what we can do together for our entire state.”
The governor discussed New Jersey’s property taxes —the highest in the country— but also extolled the state’s virtues and what it excels in.
On May 4, Governor Murphy appointed Platt and Glatt, former mayors of Harding Township and Summit respectively, as shared services “czars” to lead this effort throughout the state.
According to their website, DCA is a “department focused on working with communities to transform shared services efforts from ideas to action.”