Research: The Center is pleased to announce the completion of a research project: “Size May Not be the Issue: An Analysis of the Cost of Local Government and Municipal Size in New Jersey.” The paper addresses questions concerning what historically has been largely unsubstantiated, but what has become a widely accepted New Jersey “folk hypothesis”: that the “large number” of municipalities in New Jersey lead to higher municipal spending, and that municipal consolidations will lead to lower costs and reduce or eliminate the high property tax. The paper is authored by Center Director Raphael Caprio and Assistant Director Marc Pfeiffer. Follow-up research on related issues is anticipated.
Local Government Technology Risk Assessment: Efforts currently under contract with the New Jersey Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund (MEL), has the Center researching a broad range of risks faced by local governments that stem from their use of technology. The study assesses risks including cyber-security, reputation, public communications, and operational technology. The study will present actions that government agencies can take based on their “technology profile.” Focus is on municipal government, utility authorities, fire districts, and housing authorities. The work is ongoing.
Open Data/Open Government: The Center has an ongoing interest in facilitating efforts to make New Jersey government agency data both accessible and transparent to the public. The Center is working with government agencies, media organizations, academic institutions, and the non-profit sector to help government agencies implement open data policies, particularly through highlighting the advantages such access brings the public and the agency. These efforts also involve assisting government agencies to apply technology toward satisfying the requirements of the New Jersey Open Public Records Act and records retention practices.
: In the 1980’s the New Jersey State Board of Education began monitoring several school districts’ performance, finding that the education provided to school children in some poor communities was inadequate and unconstitutional. At that time, thirty-one districts came under state control. The state restored school board authority to Newark, Jersey City, and Paterson on a provisional basis in 2018. Compliance with transition plans are a condition of resuming full local control of their affairs, so each of these districts have worked to improve and disengage from N.J. Department of Education intervention and oversight. The Bloustein Local Government Research Center serves as an independent Comprehensive Accountability Office (CAO) that monitors and reports on each districts’ compliance using an Accountability Scorecard. The results of each phase of transition are detailed in reports that can be found at
Promoting Understanding at the Intersection of Government and the Press: Center staff members regularly provide assistance to the press and other researchers on matters concerning New Jersey local government fiscal policy and general government practices.