Murphy announces co-czars to lead push for shared services

It’s an issue that the state has been wrestling with for decades: shared services.

Everyone wants them (and the cost savings that potentially come with them), but often are slow to implement them in their own municipalities.

On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy attempted to move the state toward more such agreements by naming two people as czars for shared services in the state.

Nicolas Platt, the former Republican mayor of Harding Township, and Jordan Glatt, the former Democratic mayor of Summit, will lead the effort.

“It is imperative for New Jersey’s 565 municipalities to collaboratively pursue shared services so they can operate more efficiently and ensure better delivery of services for our residents,” Murphy said in a statement. “Today, I’m bringing two former mayors together — Nicolas Platt and Jordan Glatt, a Republican and a Democrat — to lead our shared services effort.

“Both are outstanding individuals with extensive business experience and who have a critically important insider’s view on how our municipalities and counties can successfully share services while reining in costs for our overburdened taxpayers.”

Murphy has said he wants to put an emphasis on addressing New Jersey’s high property taxes by focusing on encouraging municipalities to share services to reduce costs. The shared services agreements reported to the Department of Community Affairs since 2011 have resulted in cumulative savings totaling more than $28 million, his office said.

Glatt and Platt said they welcome the challenge.

“I’m thrilled to be working to help solve what is one of our state’s major problems — the individual property tax burden,” Glatt said.

Glatt is director of strategic partnerships at the Community Foundation of New Jersey, where he works with corporations, entrepreneurs and families to design charitable vehicles that deliver impact in New Jersey communities.

Platt currently serves on the Harding Township Committee, a position he has held since 2009. He helped the township participate in a five-town joint Municipal Court with Madison, Chatham Township, Chatham Borough and Morris Township. He also is the president of the Hartley Dodge Foundation.

Platt said this is an issue that should unite the state.

“This is a bipartisan issue,” he said. “However, each town is unique and no one knows better how to find savings than the local elected official. Far be it for Mayor Glatt or me to make any decisions on how to do that.

“What the governor has promised is this: He will put the full power of his office behind helping a municipality provide essential services at a lower cost. We are here to facilitate that.”