Bill creating consumer watchdog to call government offices picks up Assembly sponsor

Bill creating consumer watchdog to call government offices picks up Assembly sponsor

Michele Matsikoudis

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman Michele Matsikoudis announced plans on Wednesday to introduce an Assembly version of a Senate bill creating a state Office of the Consumer to assess the responsiveness and accessibility of government agencies.

She says introducing an Assembly version of Senate bill S2430 will give the measure momentum.

“Thanks to my Senate colleagues, Sen. Bramnick and Sen. Bucco, this bill is primed to move through the legislative process. I believe it is a much-needed measure to create accountability and transparency at government agencies like the Labor Department and the MVC. It deserves full consideration in both houses, which is why I plan on introducing it during the Assembly’s next quorum,” Matsikoudis (R-Union) said.

The Office of the Consumer would be housed in the legislative branch of New Jersey’s state government and would provide monthly reports on the ability to reach public employees through the phone and the user-friendliness of their office’s websites.

“When no one can reach a live person or get an appointment at a customer-facing government agency, there is a major problem. These entities are supposed to be providing services to our residents, not putting up roadblocks, which is what many people found when attempting to file for unemployment or get assistance at the MVC. They have failed those who needed them the most and it’s time we put them under the microscope to figure out what’s really going on,” she added.

Under the bill, local governments, school districts, state offices and the offices of health insurance companies regulated by the state, would be subject to surprise phone calls.