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Gov. Murphy announces legislative package to ensure fiscal accountability at public institutions of higher education

NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Thursday joined Senator Joe Cryan, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, and Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges in announcing a legislative package aimed at ensuring fiscal accountability at public institutions of higher education in New Jersey.

The three bills would implement additional fiscal reporting and publication requirements for these institutions to ensure greater oversight and transparency. The bills will also ensure that the board members of these institutions receive ongoing training to ensure that they are equipped to adequately manage the fiscal operations of our public institutions of higher education.

“When institutions are in financial distress, it is often the students and staff who are subjected to the greatest turbulence and uncertainty,” Murphy said. “As public institutions of higher education, these schools are accountable to both the government and the taxpayers of our state. This legislation will promote greater fiscal accountability among our public institutions of higher education on behalf of all those working and studying at these New Jersey institutions.”

The first bill (A-4970/S-3406) requires public institutions of higher education to submit an annual fiscal monitoring report to the Secretary of Higher Education and undergo a comprehensive audit every three years.

The bill provides the Secretary of Higher Education the authority to order additional audits of any institution, as well the authority to appoint a State monitor to directly oversee an institution’s fiscal operations and governance if the institution’s audits indicate fiscal instability or other negative fiscal impacts.

In conjunction with the first bill, the second bill (A-4971/S-3407) requires all public institutions of higher education in New Jersey to post a copy of their annual fiscal monitoring report and audited financial report or statements to their website in a manner understandable to the general public.

Under the remaining bill (A-4967/S-3436), governing board members of public institutions of higher education will be required to complete ongoing training programs that clarify their role and duty as a board member and the role of the board with respect to the financial management of the institution. Under the bill, the training requirements will be a condition of serving on the board.

“Transparency in information is a key tenant of our State Plan for Higher Education and a robust legislative package aimed at increasing transparency at public institutions of higher education ensures that our students see a more effective return on their investments,” said Dr. Bridges, Secretary of Higher Education. “By building a stronger accountability model, New Jersey can better safeguard the long-term financial sustainability of our colleges and universities.”

Sponsors of one or more of these bills include Senators Joseph Cryan and Vin Gopal, as well as Assembly members Mila Jasey, Pamela Lampitt, John McKeon, and Reginald Atkins.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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