Forum

 

SPRING 2009

Center Highlights

 

 

Hall Institute Issues CNCR Report on Earmarks

Linda Stamato
Linda Stamato

The Hall Institute of Public Policy issued a report by Linda Stamato, co-director of the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, that outlines management and fiscal problems that result from the budgetary use of add-ons and inserts, commonly known as earmarks.

 

“There is no process for weighing law-makers’ earmarks, no coordination with agency programs, no means of assessing their effectiveness and no accountability for the funds they provide,” said Stamato. “When the governing principles are seniority and geography, not merit, priorities are distorted and the public loses.”

 

The report, entitled Putting An End To Earmarks, documented how earmarks, by circumventing the budget development process, reduce the funding available for projects that have been subjected to proper scrutiny and demonstrate actual need.

 

For New Jersey, recent federal earmarks targeted funds for select hospitals. “These hospitals were funded because they are in the districts of the sponsoring lawmakers,” she said. “The earmarks don’t reflect an analysis of hospital needs for the state as a whole and they don’t come from any kind of request from the Department of Health and Human Services. Other hospitals, perhaps more in need, may gain nothing at all.”

 

The Hall Institute is a non-partisan, not-for-profit foundation established to explore social, economic, educational and cultural issues.

 

Heldrich Center, PSE&G Host Green Jobs Conference

The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and PSE&G hosted leading New Jersey employers, educators, unions, and government officials at a March conference to discuss how "green jobs" could create new employment opportunities and promote economic recovery.


Ralph Izzo, chairman, president and CEO of PSE&G, delivered the keynote address, "The Vital Role of New Jersey's Emerging Energy Economy in Addressing Global Climate Change & Leading the Nation's Economic Recovery."


Congressman Rush Holt delivered taped remarks on the federal economic stimulus package for energy and green jobs training.  Other speakers included Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, Assemblyman Wayne D'Angelo, Kenny Esser, chief energy advisor to Governor Jon S. Corzine, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President  Jeanne Fox, Commissioner David Socolow of the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and Jane Oates, executive director of the state Commission on Higher Education.

 

CGS Hosts Economic Development Workshop 

Stuart Meck
Stuart Meck

The Center for Government Services’ (CGS) hosted 80 municipal officials at its first economic development workshop in September. The daylong program focused on how to formulate and carry out municipal economic development plans to create and retain jobs, and increase income.

 

CGS Director Stuart Meck told workshop participants how the traditional smokestack approach to economic development was being replaced by a more sophisticated view that recognizes that “improvements to the wider social and natural environment strengthen the economy.” Businesses have shown increased concern for amenity and quality of life considerations, not just the costs of labor, natural resources, land, and buildings.

 

Meck urged participants to develop a vision for their communities, and identified strategies to carry it, such as regular meetings with local businesses, periodic surveys of business needs, administrative reorganization, and streamlining of permitting processes.

 

BOCEP Demonstrates National, International Reach
The Bloustein Online Continuing Education Program (BOCEP) has begun attracting urban planners and other professionals from Poland to Arkansas to its Internet-based classes. Launched in 2005, BOCEP has become one of Rutgers University’s largest non-credit online continuing education programs, offering 22 classes in community development and social justice, economic development and real estate, planning law and legal issues, professional practice, smart growth and sustainable development, and urban design and placemaking. Over 175 students have enrolled this year, a 20 percent increase over last year. In addition, BOCEP enrolled 199 particpants in nine Learning Labs, a webinar-based instruction format.

 

VTC, BCSR Survey State Residents on Emergency Preparedness
The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) and the Bloustein Center for Survey Research (BCSR) launched a statewide survey of New Jersey residents to determine how well they believe they are prepared to respond to an emergency and evacuate the area in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. The surveys are being conducted as part of a VTC contract with the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.

 

National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment

Raritan River
The Raritan River
(Photo by Mario Burger)

The National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment is partnering with the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station to lead a Raritan River Basin Symposium. Funded with a $62,000 grant from the Mushett Family Foundation, the initiative could lead to the creation of Raritan River Institute at the Bloustein School, as well as greater focus at Rutgers on the Raritan in its course offerings, field studies and research..

 

 

 

 

Bloustein Center for Survey Research

The state department of Education awarded BCSR a $150,000 contract to survey the parents of pre-school and school-age children with disabilities in New Jersey regarding their educational needs. The survey work will run through 2011 and reach the parents of all 24,000 pre-school and 240,000 school age children with disabilities. The states were required to reach out to parents by the federal government.

 

sustainable Jersey

NJ Sustainable State Institute
The NJ Sustainable State Institute helped launch the Sustainable Jersey program in February at a Statehouse press conference with Governor Jon Corzine and a host of public and private industry officials. Sustainable Jersey is a certification and incentive program for municipalities that want to go green, save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. Sustainable Jersey will have required and elective “actions” that municipalities can implement to receive the certification. In addition to NJSSI, the program includes the State League of Municipalities and the Municipal Land Use Center.

 

John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development

The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development has entered into the third and final phase of its contract with Union County to develop and begin implementing a Strategic Workforce Plan for Economic Growth. The new phase will focus on workforce development strategies affecting the healthcare and the transportation/logistics/distribution industries.

 

Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center

Bike Ped
Safe Routes to School

The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center has renewed annual contracts with state agencies for three core programs. The state Department of Transportation contracted with VTC for an 8th year to run the New Jersey Pedestrian and Bicycle Resource Center ($450,000) and for a third year to help it administer the federally mandated Safe Routes to School program ($300,000.) NJ TRANSIT awarded VTC $60,000 to continue producing an e-newsletter, Transit Friendly Development.

 

Rutgers Center for Green Building

The US Green Building Council hired the Rutgers Center for Green Building to undertake a $150,000 study through 2011 to improve the usability of green buildings and the improve the ability to model human-technology interactions. The project is called Overcoming Barriers to Occupant Productivity and Good Building Operations.

 

NJ HIV Community Planning Support Development Initiative

The NJ HIV Community Planning Support Development Initiative, a joint undertaking between the state and the Bloustein School, has been funded through 2009 for $582,000. The initiative is designed to improve HIV prevention planning by increasing the impact of planning body members who serve in advisory roles as well as providers in service roles. The state partners are the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Division of HIV/AIDS Services.

 

National Transit Institute

The National Transit Institute has been hired by Canada’s Calgary Transit to train its employees on how to recognize and react to terrorist activity. The specialized training, developed by NTI under contract to the federal government for all U.S. transit systems, helps transit employees distinguish between normal, suspicious and dangerous activity they witness at their jobsites. They are also trained as to what immediate actions they should take as employees in response.