Home>Highlight>Scutari bill would see public board, commission members paid stipends

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Scutari bill would see public board, commission members paid stipends

By Nikita Biryukov, April 20 2021 11:20 am

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) introduced a bill Tuesday that would see members of public boards, commissions, committees and other groups.

The payments would run between $300 and $1,500 and would be made only for months during which the public body holds a meeting.

Scutari said the bill was a bid to overcome difficulties recruiting individuals to serve on such bodies.

“If we can make it so it’s at least a break-even point and encourage people to serve, I think that’s a good thing. We can get a broader spectrum of potential applicants,” he said. “Additionally, there’s already a revenue stream for this.”

Those paid already paid for their position would be ineligible for the stipend if said payment exceeds the stipend amount, which would be set by the head of the department overseeing the board or commission.

If a person is paid but that payment is less than the stipend amount, they’d receive a stipend for the difference. The money for the payments would come primarily from fees and fines collected by the boards, though if no such revenue sources exist, the state’s general fund would foot the bill, though Scutari doubted it would come to that.

“I don’t see why there would be any money coming out of the general fund, quite frankly, because they already are self-sustaining in terms of what they collect,” he said.

The senator, who chairs the upper chamber’s Judiciary Committee, said he has already discussed the proposal with Gov. Phil Murphy’s staff

The bill would require stipend payments be reported annually to the governor and legislature.

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