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State of New Jersey
Executive Order #15

Governor Christine Todd Whitman

This executive order rescinded by EO #71 Whitman.

WHEREAS, there has been a marked increase in the number and complexity of permits, licenses, certificates and other approvals that businesses and all other sectors of the economy must obtain from an increasing variety of State agencies to undertake various commercial, industrial, and residential projects or activities in the State; and

WHEREAS, this expanding maze of regulation has made the cost of doing business in the State higher than in other states in many instances; and

WHEREAS, the inefficiencies resulting from the excessive cost of regulation have impeded the overall development of the economy and the growth of the State's individual businesses; and

WHEREAS, such inefficiencies have also discouraged the location of new businesses and the expansion of existing ones in the State;

WHEREAS, the combined effects of the inefficiencies have adversely affected the business climate in the State; and

WHEREAS, it is possible to uphold existing standards for the public health, safety and welfare while at the same time expediting compliance with regulations; and

WHEREAS, State government must provide leadership in transforming the State business climate into one that is supportive of and open towards business; and

WHEREAS, there is a need for a single office to coordinate exclusively an efficient and timely process for submission, evaluation, and resolution of applications for business permits, licenses, certificates and other approvals;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New Jersey, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1. There is hereby created the Office of the Business Ombudsman (hereinafter "Office") to be located in the Department of State.

2. The Secretary of State shall serve as the Business Ombudsman or appoint her designee to this position.

3. The Business Ombudsman shall be empowered to lead the Office in its primary responsibility of directing a comprehensive effort to assist businesses in dealing efficiently with State regulations.

4. Specifically, the Office shall function to provide guidance to persons who inquire about business permits, licenses, certificates and other business-related approvals. Any such similar functions of the Office of Business Advocacy in the Department of Commerce and Economic Development shall be transferred to the Office. The files, books and records of the Office of Business Advocacy that are relevant to its function of providing guidance to persons who inquire about business permits, licenses, certificates and other approvals shall be transferred from the Office of Business Advocacy to the Office.

5. Consistent with the consolidation of the aforementioned functions of the Office of Business Advocacy into the Office, the Secretary of State, or her designee, shall replace the Chief of the Office of Business Advocacy on the Cabinet Committee on Permit Coordination (hereinafter "Cabinet Committee"), which Cabinet Committee was reconstituted pursuant to Executive Order No. 100 of Governor Thomas H. Kean. Moreover, the Secretary of State, or her designee, shall replace the Commissioner of Commerce and Economic Development as Chairperson of the Cabinet Committee, and the Office shall assume the roles performed by the Office of Business Advocacy for the Cabinet Committee. The Secretary of State shall appoint an Executive Director of the Cabinet Committee.

6. All functions currently performed by the Office of Business Advocacy that do not relate to providing guidance to persons who inquire about business permits, licenses, certificates and other business-related approvals shall remain in said Office of Business Advocacy in the Department of Commerce and Economic Development.

7. The Office is hereby directed to provide guidance to persons who inquire about business permits, licenses, certificates and other approvals that are required to do business in this State.

8. The Business Ombudsman is hereby authorized to appoint and remove such staff as may be required to fulfill the mandates of this Order, subject to the provisions of Title 11A (Civil Service Act) of the Revised Statutes, when relevant, other applicable statutes, and the appropriations limit for the Office. Any persons appointed by the Business Ombudsman under this Order shall be designated employees of the Department of State.

9. The Business Ombudsman shall maintain the Office and such other quarters as deemed necessary to the proper functioning of the Office.

10. The Office is authorized to call upon any department, office, division or agency of this State to supply it with data and other information or assistance as deemed necessary to discharge the duties of the Office under this Order. Each department, office, division or agency of this State is hereby required, to the extent not inconsistent with law, to cooperate with the Business Ombudsman and provide such information and assistance as is necessary to accomplish the purpose of this Order. Notwithstanding anything in this Order to the contrary, the Office shall not supplant the function of any department, office, division or agency of the State to review and approve any governmental permit, license, certificate or other approvals.

11. This Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal,
this 5th day of April in the Year of
Our Lord, one thousand nine hundred
and ninety-four, and of the Independence
of the United States, the two hundred
and eighteenth.

Christine Todd Whitman
GOVERNOR

Attest: Peter Verniero
Chief Counsel to the Governor

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