BY BOB HOLT
Remember how the New Jersey Education Association was going to work with a commission appointed by the Christie administration on a framework for restructuring public employee pension and health benefits?
Yeah, they don’t either. But the Association says they have good reasons for ending the talks yesterday.
“If we had it to do over again, we would never have signed the memo describing concepts we discussed,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer, according to NorthJersey.com. “It was misrepresented by the governor, and that distracted everyone from the real priority: requiring the state to fund the pensions for which our members have paid their share on each and every payday throughout their careers.”
The NJEA wants Christie to follow a 2011 law that he signed requiring pension payments to reach their full amount over a seven-year period. "The law is the law," Steinhauer said, according to The Asbury Park Press. "Gov. Christie signed needs to obey it by making the full annual contribution this year, next year, and every year beyond, as the statute explicitly requires."
Christie’s reform proposal called for pensions to be frozen, and union members to join investment plans similar to a 401(k). Steinhauer said, according to NJ.com, "Ultimately, there was no consensus reached on any of the broad concepts we discussed with the commission, and there are serious concerns about some of those concepts.”