Panel: N.J. should not pay for county prosecutors’ offices

    County officials in New Jersey are disappointed a commission is not recommending the state take over the operation and cost of county prosecutors’ offices.

    Gov. Chris Christie appointed the commission to study the idea.

    The cost of funding the offices of the 21 state-appointed county prosecutors is expected to be about $450 million this year.

    Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, who said that expenditure is straining county budgets, wants the state to pick up the tab. He said the commission’s suggestions for sharing services and administrative tasks don’t go far enough.

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    “There’s no question that I am disappointed. I understand also that we’re broke at this time,” said DiVincenzo. “I’m just urging the governor, down the road when things get better, this should be revisited because we just can’t afford it.”

    John Donnadio, executive director of the New Jersey Association of Counties, agreed that the recommendations to share services and work do not suffice.

    “It’s certainly a step in the right direction. We’re hopeful that, at some point, the task force — when the economy improves, when the state is in a better condition — that they can again look at whether or not it is effective and cost efficient to assume the cost of the county prosecutor’s offices,” he said.

    Donnadio said budgets for county prosecutors have increased 10 percent over the past year at a time when overall operational costs for counties fell by two percent

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