What is the difference between Department, Agency, and Authority?
The New Jersey Constitution limits the executive branch to a maximum of sixteen cabinet-level organizations. These are called “Departments” and include organizations such as the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Environmental Protection. There are also organizations that are “in but not of” cabinet departments, and therefore are not under the direct supervision of the respective cabinet officer. These offices and commissions include organizations such as the Motor Vehicle Commission (Transportation), the Office of Information Technology (Treasury), and the Juvenile Justice Commission (Law & Public Safety). Finally, there are independent authorities, such as the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, New Jersey Transit, and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. Collectively, these departments, in but not of organizations, and independent authorities are referred to as agencies. Various state systems (such as the financial, payroll, and personnel systems) will define