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Re: "Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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By law, towns and municipalities were required to match that 8.5 percent.


Wow how generous. This is one law that should be repealed right away. In the private sector, after the 2008/2009 collapse, the majority of companies eliminated their match. And you'd be lucky if you had a 5% match if that.

but to have an 8.5% match, that is way too generous on the backs of taxpayers.

Sorry.

FG

Posted on: 2010/12/26 18:56
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Re: "Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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Walk_Idiot_Walk wrote:

Wrong. There are still a small number of older City employees who are in the pension plan the City used to offer to employees (ERS). The ERS plan is managed by the City.


It's not a small number of employees, either.

Posted on: 2010/12/26 18:17
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Re: "Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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Walk_Idiot_Walk wrote:
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Wrong. There are still a small number of older City employees who are in the pension plan the City used to offer to employees (ERS). The ERS plan is managed by the City.




Thanks.. I don't know any details and couldn't find anything about it on the internet.

The police / fire state pensions are only about 38% funded (as of March 2010). Total state pension debt is over $140 billion.

Some form of default is inevitable.

Posted on: 2010/12/26 14:45
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Re: "Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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JCwestie wrote:
Almost all Police Officers and Firemen are part of the State Plan (PFERS) Police & Fire Employees Retirment System. All other unionized City workers are part of the (PERS) Public Employee Retiement System. I think the rest may have 401k or none but the City Definately does not have a pension system that they manage.


Wrong. There are still a small number of older City employees who are in the pension plan the City used to offer to employees (ERS). The ERS plan is managed by the City.

Posted on: 2010/12/26 4:48
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Re: "Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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Almost all Police Officers and Firemen are part of the State Plan (PFERS) Police & Fire Employees Retirment System. All other unionized City workers are part of the (PERS) Public Employee Retiement System. I think the rest may have 401k or none but the City Definately does not have a pension system that they manage.

Posted on: 2010/12/26 4:25
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Re: "Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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I was informed that J.C. has its own pension plan separate from the State plan. I have no idea how solvent / insolvent it is.

Posted on: 2010/12/25 21:14
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Re: "Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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Posted: Friday, November 12, 2010 12:00 am

Mount Olive cop: Politicians caused pension woes

Editor?s note: The writer, Michael Poquat, is a police officer in Mount Olive Township.

As a police officer in the state of New Jersey, I find myself unable to sit by while the current climate of public employee bashing continues under the misinformation fed to the public by the media and our current governor.

While I can not comment on the teacher?s retirement system, I can speak about the Police and Fire Retirement Fund (PFRS), and more specifically, how it has been mishandled by some of our elected officials. The truth should come out, and the public has a right to know how we got to where we are today.

Long before I became a police officer, the state of New Jersey enacted a law which required police officers and firemen to contribute a certain percentage of their salary into the state?s ?secure? pension fund. Throughout my 22 year career, I have paid 8.5 percent of my salary, as mandated by law, into this fund every pay period.

I was not given the option to place my 8.5 percent in an IRA or other investment fund. Every pay check since I was 25 years old had the 8.5 percent taken out of my pay and placed into the PFRS with the promise that the money would be there when I retired. By law, towns and municipalities were required to match that 8.5 percent.

By the time Gov. Christine Todd Whitman took office, there was over $100 billion in the fund. This meant that at the current rate of retirements, pension costs for police officers and firemen were funded at 104 percent, well into the future. This was a prudent and financially responsible plan that worked, and it provided security for the families of these men and woman who risked their lives every day serving and protecting the citizens of New Jersey.

In no way was it heavily over funded or excessive. It covered the costs of promised retirements with a small cushion left over. It was at this time that Whitman stepped in. Gov. Whitman recognized the billions of dollars in our ?secure? and ?separate? pension fund, and she proceeded to raid that fund. Unknown and unannounced to the public, monies were indiscriminately withdrawn from the PFRS and used to pay for Whitman?s tax cuts and to balance the state budget.

Billions of dollars were taken, and to make matters worse, the Whitman administration passed a law allowing towns and municipalities to no longer contribute to the fund. Over $3 billion in contributions were skipped over the next eight years, while the individual police officers and firefighters continued to have their 8.5 percent contribution taken from them and placed into the PFRS.

The state gambled for years, relying heavily on the returns from the stock market to cover the missing funds. Politicians misspoke on the campaign trail, touting the virtues of how their financial genius was able to balance their state and local budgets, and the public was lulled into a sense of false financial security.

But the small print in Whitman?s bill was ignored. The funds they failed to contribute would have to be made up at a later date. The pension reprieve was temporary and their contributions would have to be paid back, just like any other loan. It was quietly suggested by the Whitman administration that towns set these contributions aside for when the state called to make good on them. It appears most towns and municipalities failed to heed this advice.

Governors (Donald) DiFrancesco, (James) McGreevy, and (Richard) Codey continued this trend, and all failed to call the towns and municipalities on their ?loan? while the PFRS fund continued to dwindle down close to $66 billion. They remained silent. To bring this to light at this point would certainly mean political suicide, knowing that towns and municipalities would have to raise taxes to make up for their error in financial judgment and planning.

It wasn?t until Gov. Jon Corzine took office that this trend was stopped, but unfortunately, the damage was done. Gov. Corzine made the call the governors before him were afraid to make. He advised the towns and municipalities that it was time to pay back the monies the towns had been given a temporary reprieve on. And the media jumped on this, printing bold headlines ?Towns going broke over police and fire pensions.?

This attention grabbing and misleading headline made it appear that your police and firemen were bilking the taxpayers dry, when the truth is totally the opposite. The politicians bilked your police officers and firemen dry and in the long run, the tax payers of New Jersey.

Towns and municipalities knew they were going to have to pay this money back and for them to insinuate otherwise is simply not true. Realizing the gravity of the situation, a new bill was introduced and passed into law. This allowed the towns to pay back the loan given to them by their public employees in increments; starting at 20 percent, 40 percent, 60 percent, 80 percent, and finally 100 percent each proceeding year.

Towns and municipalities continue to act as if they have been caught unaware and shocked by this entire process. The public is being told that payments for police and fire pensions are doubling, tripling and quadrupling and that the public employee system is out of control. What the public needs to know is that they are the victims of a mounting debt that was created by the Whitman administration and compounded by those following her tenure.

To blame your public employees for the abuses of the pension system is ludicrous at best, especially when our elected officials are the ones responsible for raiding the fund and then enacting the legislation on how and when to pay it back.

Gov. Jim Florio recognized the financial hardship facing the state of New Jersey and proceeded to raise the state sales tax to 7 percent. This helped spell political suicide for him, and Gov. Whitman was not going to make the same mistake. She repealed the 7 percent, dropping it back down to the 6 percent, knowing full well this money would have to come from somewhere.

Her solution was to raid the Police and Fire Pension System, allowing her to balance the state budget and give the false appearance that all was fiscally sound under her watch.

Our current governor, facing the same financial crisis of those going before him, has chosen a similar route, but one with a more vilifying tone. He has again found the same victim: Your public employees. When asked about the pension situation in the state of New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie replied ?I wasn?t going to put $3 billion into a failing pension system. We need pension reform. I passed some already for new hirees, and this fall we are going after the current employees and pension reform and benefits because we are broke.?

Nowhere does he mention how the public employees had already bailed out this state years before, and now he is focused on ?going after? the current employees to fix a mess created and compounded by politicians. To say otherwise for him would be political suicide should he aspire to higher political office, and as most of those before him, he is not about to risk his future. Rather, he would gamble on the future of those men and woman and their families who have served this state with honor and integrity.

The principals of the pension system are not broken Mr. Governor. What is broken is the manner in which the politicians have treated and abused it. Yes, the system is failing now, but not because of your police officers and firemen. As of 2009, the pension fund should have assets of $112 billion to meet its obligations, yet it is currently sitting at $66 billion.

It is the largest unfunded liability in the country. New Jersey is the first state ever to be charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Gov. Christie, strangely, has no comment on this. Yet he continues his rhetoric on the evils done to us by our police officers and firemen, ignoring the truth and lambasting and vilifying us at every turn.

As the saying goes, ?Politics has no shame when it comes to preserving your place in office. Why let the truth get in between a good, attention grabbing headline??

The system is on the brink of collapse and continued arrogance and mudslinging will not fix it. The truth is what it is Mr. Governor, and there is no getting around that. Politicians put us in this mess for their own political gain, not our public employees, as you would like the public to believe. You know this and need to stop ignoring the facts. How we deal with it from here is the measure of each of our character and integrity. I know the public is smart enough to recognize this and I hope that you are too. Long after you are gone, we will still be here, protecting and serving as we always have. In the end, all we have left is our name. Let?s hope yours is remembered for you?re integrity and not for what you have slung so far in your race for political aspiration. I challenge you to do the right thing, as so many police officers and firemen strive to do every day for their families and the citizens of New Jersey.

Posted on: 2010/12/25 15:01
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Re: "Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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"Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous, and I applaud any effort at reforming the system," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy. "We need to have one job, one pension."


Finally, something I can side with Mayor Healy on.

Folks can have multiple jobs (if they are really at those jobs, and not no show fake jobs)... but they should only have one government pension. NOT multiple pensions.

But notice, how Healy would just applaud any effort. He has the power to possibly enact this change and wont.

What Jersey City should do is follow the private sector, eliminate pensions all together and replace it with mandatory employee funded 401K programs.

I really hope public employees have their own individual IRA's like a Roth IRA and are socking money aside for their future because the current pension system is a bad scheme and should be gotten rid of. My taxes are too high to pay for everyone else's retirement.

FG

Posted on: 2010/12/25 14:35
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From the December 22, 2010 NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/23/bus ... ml?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Prichard,%20Alabama&st=cse

Alabama Town?s Failed Pension Is a Warning

PRICHARD, Ala. ? This struggling small city on the outskirts of Mobile was warned for years that if it did nothing, its pension fund would run out of money by 2009. Right on schedule, its fund ran dry.
Multimedia
Slide Show
Where the Pension Checks Stopped
Enlarge This Image
Meggan Haller for The New York Times

Last week, retirees asked the City Council for some help before Christmas. More Photos ?

Then Prichard did something that pension experts say they have never seen before: it stopped sending monthly pension checks to its 150 retired workers, breaking a state law requiring it to pay its promised retirement benefits in full.

Since then, Nettie Banks, 68, a retired Prichard police and fire dispatcher, has filed for bankruptcy. Alfred Arnold, a 66-year-old retired fire captain, has gone back to work as a shopping mall security guard to try to keep his house. Eddie Ragland, 59, a retired police captain, accepted help from colleagues, bake sales and collection jars after he was shot by a robber, leaving him badly wounded and unable to get to his new job as a police officer at the regional airport.

Far worse was the retired fire marshal who died in June. Like many of the others, he was too young to collect Social Security. ?When they found him, he had no electricity and no running water in his house,? said David Anders, 58, a retired district fire chief. ?He was a proud enough man that he wouldn?t accept help.?

The situation in Prichard is extremely unusual ? the city has sought bankruptcy protection twice ? but it proves that the unthinkable can, in fact, sometimes happen. And it stands as a warning to cities like Philadelphia and states like Illinois, whose pension funds are under great strain: if nothing changes, the money eventually does run out, and when that happens, misery and turmoil follow.

It is not just the pensioners who suffer when a pension fund runs dry. If a city tried to follow the law and pay its pensioners with money from its annual operating budget, it would probably have to adopt large tax increases, or make huge service cuts, to come up with the money.

Current city workers could find themselves paying into a pension plan that will not be there for their own retirements. In Prichard, some older workers have delayed retiring, since they cannot afford to give up their paychecks if no pension checks will follow.

So the declining, little-known city of Prichard is now attracting the attention of bankruptcy lawyers, labor leaders, municipal credit analysts and local officials from across the country. They want to see if the situation in Prichard, like the continuing bankruptcy of Vallejo, Calif., ultimately creates a legal precedent on whether distressed cities can legally cut or reduce their pensions, and if so, how.

?Prichard is the future,? said Michael Aguirre, the former San Diego city attorney, who has called for San Diego to declare bankruptcy and restructure its own outsize pension obligations. ?We?re all on the same conveyor belt. Prichard is just a little further down the road.?

Many cities and states are struggling to keep their pension plans adequately funded, with varying success. New York City plans to put $8.3 billion into its pension fund next year, twice what it paid five years ago. Maryland is considering a proposal to raise the retirement age to 62 for all public workers with fewer than five years of service.

Illinois keeps borrowing money to invest in its pension funds, gambling that the funds? investments will earn enough to pay back the debt with interest. New Jersey simply decided not to pay the $3.1 billion that was due its pension plan this year.

Colorado, Minnesota and South Dakota have all taken the unusual step of reducing the benefits they pay their current retirees by cutting cost-of-living increases; retirees in all three states are suing.

No state or city wants to wind up like Prichard.

Driving down Wilson Avenue here ? a bleak stretch of shuttered storefronts, with pawn shops and beauty parlors that operate behind barred windows and signs warning of guard dogs ? it is hard to see vestiges of the Prichard that was a boom town until the 1960s. The city once had thriving department stores, two theaters and even a zoo. ?You couldn?t find a place to park in that city,? recalled Kenneth G. Turner, a retired paramedic whose grandfather pushed for the city?s incorporation in 1925.

The city?s rapid decline began in the 1970s. The growth of other suburbs, white flight and then middle-class flight all took their tolls, and the city?s population shrank by 40 percent to about 27,000 today, from its peak of 45,000. As people left, the city?s tax base dwindled.
Enlarge This Image
Meggan Haller for The New York Times

After having good credit for years, Nettie Banks, 68, a retired police and fire dispatcher who worked for Prichard for 25 years, declared bankruptcy when her pension checks stopped coming. More Photos ?
Multimedia
Slide Show
Where the Pension Checks Stopped

Prichard?s pension plan was established by state law during the good times, in 1956, to supplement Social Security. By the standard of other public pension plans, and the six-figure pensions that draw outrage in places like California and New Jersey, it is not especially rich. Its biggest pension came to about $39,000 a year, for a retired fire chief with many years of service. The average retiree got around $12,000 a year. But the plan allowed workers to retire young, in their 50s. And its benefits were sweetened over time by the state legislature, which did not pay for the added benefits.

For many years, the city ? like many other cities and states today ? knew that its pension plan was underfunded. As recently as 2004, the city hired an actuary, who reported that ?the plan is projected to exhaust the assets around 2009, at which time benefits will need to be paid directly from the city?s annual finances.?

The city had already taken the unusual step of reducing pension benefits by 8.5 percent for current retirees, after it declared bankruptcy in 1999, yielding to years of dwindling money, mismanagement and corruption. (A previous mayor was removed from office and found guilty of neglect of duty.) The city paid off its last creditors from the bankruptcy in 2007. But its current mayor, Ronald K. Davis, never complied with an order from the bankruptcy court to begin paying $16.5 million into the pension fund to reduce its shortfall.

A lawyer representing the city, R. Scott Williams, said that the city simply did not have the money. ?The reality for Prichard is that if you took money to build the pension up, who?s going to pay the garbage man?? he asked. ?Who?s going to pay to run the police department? Who?s going to pay the bill for the street lights? There?s only so much money to go around.?

Workers paid 5.5 percent of their salaries into the pension fund, and the city paid 10.5 percent. But the fund paid out more money than it took in, and by September 2009 there was no longer enough left in the fund to send out the $150,000 worth of monthly checks owed to the retirees. The city stopped paying its pensions. And no one stepped in to enforce the law.

The retirees, who were not unionized, sued. The city tried to block their suit by declaring bankruptcy, but a judge denied the request. The city is appealing. The retirees filed another suit, asking the city to pay at least some of the benefits they are owed. A mediation effort is expected to begin soon. Many retirees say they would accept reduced benefits.

Companies with pension plans are required by federal law to put money behind their promises years in advance, and the government can impose punitive taxes on those that fail to do so, or in some cases even seize their pension funds.

Companies are also required to protect their pension assets. So if a corporate pension fund falls below 60 cents? worth of assets for every dollar of benefits owed, workers can no longer accrue additional benefits. (Prichard was down to just 33 cents on the dollar in 2003.)

And if a company goes bankrupt, the federal government can take over its pension plan and see that its retirees receive their benefits. Although some retirees receive less than they were promised, no retiree from a federally insured plan in the private sector has come away empty-handed since the federal pension law was enacted in 1974. The law does not cover public sector workers.

Last week several dozen retirees ? one using a wheelchair, some with canes ? attended the weekly City Council meeting, asking for something before Christmas. Mary Berg, 61, a former assistant city clerk whose mother was once the city?s zookeeper, read them the names of 11 retirees who had died since the checks stopped coming.

?I hope that on Christmas morning, when you are with your families around your Christmas trees, that you remember that most of the retirees will not be opening presents with their families,? she told them.

The budget did not move forward. Mayor Davis was out of town.

?Merry Christmas!? shouted a man from the back row of the folding chairs. The retirees filed out. One woman could not hold back her tears.

After the meeting, Troy Ephriam, a council member who became chairman of the pension fund when it was nearly broke, sat in his office and recalled some of the failed efforts to put more money into the pension fund.

?I think the biggest disappointment I have is that there was not a strong enough effort to put something in there,? he said. ?And that?s the reason that it?s hard for me to look these people in the face: because I?m not certain we really gave our all to prevent this.?

Posted on: 2010/12/23 23:47
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Re: "Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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There is nothing stopping Mayor Healy from implementing a "one job" policy in his administration as a demonstration of leadership on this issue.



Quote:
"Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous, and I applaud any effort at reforming the system," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy. "We need to have one job, one pension."





Quote:

mrrogers wrote:
This is the second lie healy has been caught in lately.
First he got caught lieing about Abatements on the waterfront,now in todays JJ he says people should have one job and one pension.

Half his staff are on more than one payroll.His cheif of staff Carl zibliki is on at least three and all are adding to his future pension.

If this was really what he wanted then why are seven of his council picks collecting two checks and accruing pension benefits for both.

We should have a running thread on this board of all the Heally lies starting with "gee i don't really know how i got on the porch that night"(New York Times)

Posted on: 2006/11/15 18:40
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Re: "Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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This is the second lie healy has been caught in lately.
First he got caught lieing about Abatements on the waterfront,now in todays JJ he says people should have one job and one pension.

Half his staff are on more than one payroll.His cheif of staff Carl zibliki is on at least three and all are adding to his future pension.

If this was really what he wanted then why are seven of his council picks collecting two checks and accruing pension benefits for both.

We should have a running thread on this board of all the Heally lies starting with "gee i don't really know how i got on the porch that night"(New York Times)

Posted on: 2006/11/15 16:04
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"Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous," said Mayor Healy, "We need to have one job, one pension."
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Pols mull cost of pension status quo
Legislators see need for reining in benefits
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
By JARRETT RENSHAW
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The political winds in Trenton are swirling around the idea of pension reform - and thousands of public workers may get swept up it in its path.

A number of Hudson County politicians say it's about time Trenton lawmakers took a look at what some believe is the "third rail" of New Jersey politics.

"Pension abuse is rampant and outrageous, and I applaud any effort at reforming the system," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy. "We need to have one job, one pension."

The state's current pension system greatly outpaces the private sector by awarding lucrative retirement payouts and lifetime medical coverage for public workers who retire at age 55. It also allows workers to cobble together an unlimited number of part-time government jobs to boost future pension payments.

A Jersey Journal review of pension records shows that more than 440 government workers collect paychecks from at least one Hudson County government agency, plus hold at least one other public job here or elsewhere. The combined salaries of these government workers amounts to more than $36 million in taxpayer money currently each year, plus millions more later in pensions and retirement benefits.

The state's pension fund needs another $24 billion to make the asset fully funded, according to state officials. The shortfall means less money available to local municipalities in the form of state aid - money that could be used to offset the highest property taxes in the nation.

A bipartisan legislative panel is expected to recommend raising the retirement age from 55 to 62 for new state workers and requiring all state employees to contribute more to their health insurance plans. The panel is also expected to push for a switch to 401(k)-style retirement plans, instead of traditional pensions, for future elected, appointed and part-time officials.

The panel wants to force officials with more than one public pension to choose one of them as their primary pension, instead of combining them to boost their retirement benefits. Also, the committee wants to cap public pensions at the same maximum used by Social Security to collect taxes.

"The positions are not the problem, the pensions are," said Assemblyman Louis Manzo, D-Jersey City. "I think capping the amount someone can collect in the pension is probably the most prudent approach."

State Sens. Joe Doria and Nicholas Sacco, who both hold other public jobs, say there is a pension problem - but refuse to identify what the problem is, or suggest solutions to fix it.

"There are areas where pension abuses can be eliminated, and I will support those reforms," said Sacco, whose combined salaries as a state lawmaker, North Bergen mayor and assistant school district superintendent total $247,558.

Union City Mayor and Assemblyman Brian Stack says he supports statewide pension reform, but he is afraid it could hurt municipalities. "We need reform, but cities need to be able to hire part-time employees instead of paying someone full-time salaries with all the benefits. I can see both sides," he said.

Assemblywoman Joan Quigley said the current outrage over government pensions largely ignores some of the facts.

"When we have people working multiple jobs and collecting pensions, I don't see it as a problem," Quigley said. "If the jobs are legitimate in the first place, then whoever gets the job will be eligible for the pension."

Quigley said she has not seen the numbers that support pension reform and would bring down the state's debt. She warned that taking part-time employees out of the pension system could lead to watering down of the employee stock.

"Many small towns don't need a full-time officer, and there are people who work in five different towns, but without the pension benefits, they would go somewhere else and I don't want to dilute the quality," she said.

Charles T. Epps Jr. - who tops the list of county pension padders with a combined salary of $268,999 as the Jersey City school superintendent and assemblyman, plus a $1,000 monthly housing allowance - did not return calls for comment.

Posted on: 2006/11/15 14:11
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