The Business Administration staff oversees a $37 million operating budget along with Essex County Prosecutor’s Office’s criminal forfeiture accounts. Additionally, it oversees the Office’s 12 major grant-funded programs totaling more than $1.6 million per year. The Unit provides crucial support services at ECPO’s six office sites, including facility management, supply distribution, inventory, purchasing, budgeting, personnel records, time keeping, payroll, and criminal case file storage and retrieval.
Capital equipment—including copiers, telephones, fax machines, desk units and file storage cabinets—is continually monitored to identify and prioritize replacement needs. The Unit assists the Prosecutor and executive management team with long-term planning and strategic decision support including staffing plans, compensation policies, and capital spending/infrastructure decisions.
The Business Administration Unit’s support functions also include:
In support of the Prosecutor’s efforts to secure additional space for the Office to relieve crowding and to promote efficiency, the Business Administration Unit coordinated efforts with the County of Essex in improving facilities for our staff. The Unit coordinated an extensive upgrade of the heating and cooling systems at our headquarters office in the Veterans Courthouse during 2016. This required providing temporary working space for employees as contractors installed modern thermostat and cooling equipment along the perimeter of the building over the course of six months. With proactive planning and monitoring on the part of Business Administration staff, the disruptions to our daily operations and management were held to an absolute minimum.
In 2016, the Business Administration Unit continued its efforts to efficiently manage the Office’s overall file storage space, which is distributed over several sites and is in short supply. The Unit continued to coordinate the disposal of paper files that are no longer needed, and ensured their proper disposal considering the potentially sensitive nature of certain material. Certain older paper files that were determined necessary to retain are moved from overcrowded locations in the Veterans Courthouse to a more accessible location in Belleville, where better environmental conditions for long-term file storage are available. The Unit also continues to support a variety of digital scanning options for files where original document retention is not strictly mandated by law.
The Business Administration Unit continued to work closely with the Prosecutor and other high-level ECPO managers in responding to the continuing fiscal challenges presented by reduced County revenues and a State-mandated 2% budget increase cap. Through careful planning and monitoring of expenditures, staff turnover positions were filled when necessary and critical to the continued functioning of the justice system in Essex County.
To this end, the Business Administration Unit worked closely with the Prosecutor and managers of the criminal prosecution units to arrange for the resources needed to support ECPO’s response to New Jersey’s Criminal Justice Reform initiative, which took effect on January 1, 2017. One of the key resources was the procurement and roll-out of the CSI Infoshare enterprise-level database system, for unified data management of ECPO’s investigation and case prosecutions. The Business Administration Unit actively collaborated with the Information Technology Unit in the procurement and implementation of this new system, arranging for over $500,000 in new computer software procurements.
In 2016, the Business Administration Unit personnel also played a key role in operationalizing two new federally-funded grant programs, a $594,023 federal COPS Anti-Gang Initiative Grant (a data driven anti-gang effort in conjunction with its Narcotics Task Force Unit), and the $350,000 federal SMART Prosecution Grant (an effort within the Adult Trial Section to utilize social media to enhance evidence collection in important critical prosecutions).
Business Administration Unit personnel also provided key support in maintaining the Office’s web site, www.njecpo.org, in conjunction with the Information Technology Unit. The Unit also continued to assist in the maintenance of the Word Press content management platform.