An Important Year Continues
The following are the comments submitted to the Departments of Education and Comunity Affairs in opposition to the adoption of rules pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:23-1.1 and 1.2 and the proposed new rules at N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-23, Fiscal Accountability, Efficiency and Budgeting Procedures Approval Process for Non-School Employees' Health Benefit Program (Non-SEHBP) Plans pirsuant to P.L. 2011, C.78
The American Federation of State, Council and Municipal Employees, Council 1, strongly oppose the proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 6A: 23-1.1 and 1.2, and the proposed new rules at N.J.A.C. 6A: 23A-23, Fiscal Accountability, Efficiency and Budgeting Procedures Approval Process for Non-School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (Non-SEHBP) Plans Pursuant to P.L. 2011, C.78.
While there are a number of reasons this rule change should not be adopted, we are most alarmed by the negative impact these changes will have on collective bargaining. The collective bargaining process has the dual effect on providing protections for workers while giving employers the opportunity to win concessions when necessary. Not only do the proposed regulation changes go well beyond what is permissible according to the intent of the language in the statue, it will also ultimately make it impossible for Local Municipalities, Boards of Education and employees to effectively negotiate in order to save tax payers money and protect workers’ rights.
This proposed regulation has little regard for the individual health needs of the people who will be forced to evaluate health plans used solely on the costs. In some instances, the Non-School Employees Health Benefit Plan (Non-SEHBP) may not be the best option for an individual with specific health needs. In that instance a private plan may not provide for better care ultimately ensuring a healthier employee who is able to work, thereby, saving the Local Municipalities and Boards of Education money in ways that may not be apparent in pokies on line the original cost comparison which this regulation requires.
Also, the current SEHBP is not a good financial benchmark to measure aggregate savings. Many non-state local plans have superior trends, more over the SEHBP often has not followed its actuary’s recommendation with regard to sound funding levels. Consequently, the rates in any given year, which are the predicate of local comparisons are questionable, therefore; one could not compare the actual cost of SEHBP to a Non-SEHBP.
Based on recent occurrences, Elected Officials and Boards of Education employees have been prosecuted for illegal activity for services rendered to the municipalities and Local Boards of Education by outside insurance companies. This rule change will broaden the ability of Elected Officials and of Boards of Education to make subjective decisions which canadian online casino may directly benefit them financially or otherwise.
Further, no one can truly determine if the SEHBP is representing the accurate cost that would be incurred by the units involved in a collective negotiation agreement, and as such, will make certification of the “aggregate employer savings”, which under this proposal, the entire agreement will be dependent upon a flawed and questionable endeavor. This will set up a scenario whereby the Non- SEHBP can provide whatever numbers it wants to ensure the “aggregate employer savings” favors its proposed plans.
The proposed rule conflicts with the plain language of current law and exceeds the scope of Public Law 2011, Chapter 78, by requiring that local governments seek State approval if they intend to purchase any health plan outside of the SEHBP and incorporate that plan into their collective bargaining agreements. Current law does not mandate State approval for these Local procurement decisions nor does current law authorize any State agency to impose this requirement by administrative rule.
Finally, this proposal will have a detrimental impact on the collective bargaining process by eliminating the possibility of Local Municipalities, Boards of Education and Unions representing members to negotiate with every option on the table. In some instances members will sacrifice pay increases to secure or maintain benefits; and in some instances such trade- offs are necessary to balance a budget and save tax payer dollars.
Therefore; we urge the Department of Community Affairs, Department of Education and the Department of Treasury to amend the proposal to reflect the actual intent of the law to ensure that the processes developed within regulation afford districts and employees flexibility to ensure vibrant Collective Bargaining Negotiations.