Mandatory direct deposit of paychecks, described as "commonsense legislation" when signed by Gov. Chris Christie, did not make sense to all City Council members Tuesday.
The bill mandating direct deposit for all state employees as of July 1 also provided for municipalities and school districts to follow suit, but council members were reluctant to force it on city employees, saying many do not have or may not be able to get bank accounts. The proposed ordinance would apply to all part-time and full-time city workers and seasonal employees would have the option of requesting direct deposit.
Only one speaker, a firefighter, spoke against the proposal in public comment, but Councilwoman Vera Greaves said she wanted it to be transitioned and Council President Bridget Rivers raised the issue of workers not being eligible to get checking accounts.
City Administrator Rick Smiley said it costs about 51 cents to issue a paycheck and the city has 500 employees. He said the city would set up meetings with banks so employees could get accounts. Councilman Cory Storch said credit unions should also be considered, as they do not charge fees for transactions.
Poor credit is one reason why a bank might deny a consumer a checking account, according to this FDIC article which offers possible options such as a 'second chance" account.
Council members agreed to consider an ordinance, but instead of it taking effect July 1, the council favored a Jan. 1, 2015 starting date.
The ordinance, MC 2014-14, is on the agenda for first reading Monday. The meeting is 8 p.m. in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.