New legislation has been introduced to reform New Jersey's civil service regulations in a way that encourages towns to explore the possibility of sharing services. The lawmaker behind the pair of measures says more towns would be willing to consolidate and regionalize if they weren't held back by the state's current rules.

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli-R (

The first measure affects local health agenices while the second permits towns to enter into agreements that regionalize tax assessment services.

"Under current civil service law, tenure rules make it next to impossible for municipalities to achieve the synergies that are possible through regionalization in areas such as health departments," explained Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R). "Inflexible civil service regulations that restrict employee retention decisions in a regionalization have hampered opportunities for meaningful reform and savings."

He said oftentimes, towns willing to share services are prevented from doing so because there's no opportunity to downsize personnel. Therefore, no savings can be reached. One measure would permit evaluation of a work force based on performance and need, not simply on longevity.

"Civil service and tenure have their place," Ciattarelli said. "They were meant to protect public employees from the perils of political patronage. Civil service and tenure were never meant to deny taxpayer savings."