Big retirement payouts for top cops, fire chiefs and school brass cost $76M. Why can’t N.J. stop them?

September 22, 2023

Despite attempts to cap significant retirement payouts to high-ranking officials in New Jersey, such as police chiefs, fire chiefs, and school administrators since 2010, generous payouts continue, impacting the state’s highest property taxes and diverting funds from other essential services. Since 2020, 780 of the highest-paid government employees in New Jersey received retirement payouts totaling $76.7 million.

Marc Pfeiffer, former deputy director of the state Division of Local Government Services and now a professor at Rutgers University, criticizes the effectiveness of the 2010 reforms and suggests that additional measures are needed to rein in these expenses.

The article highlights that these payouts result from various forms of paid leave, including sick days, holidays, training days, and banked time off. It also mentions that end-of-career bonuses based on years of service contribute to these large payouts.

Municipal and school officials acknowledge the unpopularity of these payments but argue that they are obligated to honor them. They also point out that changes in labor contracts are gradually reducing these payouts as fringe benefits are negotiated out of employment agreements.

Efforts to restrict these payouts have faced challenges, with existing employees often grandfathered in under the old rules. While some argue that such benefits are essential to attract and retain public servants, others argue that these payouts need to stop entirely to control property taxes effectively.

NJ.com, September 21, 2023

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