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234 mayors endorse Christie plan to alter public employee's sick leave and vacation benefits

christieThumbsup051811_optAssemblyman Wisniewski says governor knows proposal is unconstitutional

BY TOM HESTER SR.
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

As Gov. Chris Christie’s office Thursday announced that a bipartisan group of 234 mayors support the governor’s proposal to change how public employee sick leave and vacation pay is allotted, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) said the legislation is unconstitutional.

The mayors, Republicans and Democrats from every county have joined Christie’s in calling for what he sees as the Democratic-controlled Legislature’s delay in acting on the proposal. The governor argues his proposal would save taxpayer dollars and deliver budget relief to cities and towns.

11 mayors joined the Christie at a press conference in Teaneck, including Bergen County Executive Kathe Donovan and Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin, to call for “action on critical, common sense reforms that will provide significant taxpayer savings and give mayors the tools they need to manage their budgets and hold down property taxes for New Jersey families.”

The Legislature plans to adjourn for the holidays and end the its lameduck session on Dec. 15.

“After having specific bills to act on for nearly 19 months, it is past time for the legislature to stand up and give mayors the tools they are asking for to provide savings to taxpayers, including a complete end to the inexplicable practice of paying scarce taxpayer dollars for unused sick days,” Christie said. “Like the other tool kit bills, real sick and pension benefit reform is a common sense reform that has bipartisan support of mayors, local elected officials and lawmakers from communities all across our state – urban and suburban, shore and inland, Democrat and Republican. There is no excuse for the legislature’s continued failure to deliver savings to our cities and property taxpayers.”

Wisniewski charged the press conference was a publicity stunt.

"While the governor is again running a slick campaign to sell his sick and vacation benefit reform proposal, he might as well be trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge,” Wisniewski said. “His public relations effort offers a cynical and deceptive promise to local government officials all across the state.

“As a lawyer, he ought to know that his proposal to eliminate existing local government liabilities for sick and vacation payments amounts to an unconstitutional taking,” the Assemblyman said. “He also knows that local officials already have the power to negotiate caps on retirement payouts. When the governor decides to have a serious discussion about the issue, Democrats have proposals they would be more than happy to discuss with him."

Christie said liabilities facing taxpayers across the state for unused sick and vacation day benefits total more than $825 million. In Teaneck, taxpayers have nearly $4.4 million in total sick and vacation liabilities owed to public workers. For Bergen County as a whole, municipal liabilities total nearly $91.8 million.

The governor said mayors understand that the inaction of the Legislature has an impact on the major cost drivers in their budgets and how effectively they can control property taxes under the 2 percent property tax cap.

Among the mayors supporting Christie’s proposal are Rose Heck, Hasbrouck Heights; Dana Redd, Camden; Bernie Platt, Cherry Hill; Albert Kelly, Bridgeton; James Gaspirini, Fairfield; Peter Hughes, Glen Ridge; Sandy Haimoff, Millburn; Joe Alessi, North Caldwell; Joseph Tempesta, West Caldwell; Robert Parisi, West Orange; Raymond McDonough, Harrison; Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken; Brian Stack, Union City; David DelVecchio, Lambertville; John Bencivengo, Hamilton; Wilda Diaz, Perth Amboy; Kennedy O'Brien, Sayreville; Ed Johnson, Asbury Park; James Anzaldi, Clifton, and Joseph Menza, Hillside.

Christie’s office offered these examples of what the accumulated sick and vacation time owed to public employees in nine cities means per taxpayer:

New Brunswick: $14.5 million in accumulated payouts or $1,330 per taxpayer

Jersey City: $74 million or $1,174

Hackensack: $18.9 million or $1,030

Newark: $46.1 million or $770

Atlantic City: $34.6 million or $426

Camden: $23.2 million or $770

Elizabeth: $18.3 million or $691

Edison: $14.6 million or $352

Union City: $14.6 million or $493

 
Comments (3)
3 Saturday, 10 December 2011 12:27
Tough Love
Dear Sick of Property Taxes,

Nice try at diversion .... a common tactic.

Clearly you are a Civil Servant riding this gravy train. NOBODY but Civil Servants get payouts at retirement for sick days (and on the Taxpayer's dime no less).

So that bugs you that we find that unfair? ... Surprise, Surprise.

Next up ... going after your excessive pension and retiree healthcare benefits.
2 Friday, 09 December 2011 18:53
Sick of Property Taxes
Nothing Christie has gotten passed so far through legislation has decreased my property taxes and I don't believe this will either.

Anyway, how can you have someone sign a contract, tell them you will get paid a certain amount and then say sorry, I need to take that back to make someone else happy because their job doesn't pay for sick days? That makes no sense.

And where are these numbers coming from? He included the new cop or teacher who just started and didn't get sick last year so they now have 10-12 sick days in the bank. How can you count those days or anyone else's for that matter? What if they get sick and need them? Then those crazy numbers he came up with will certainly decrease.

He's playing the numbers game and bullying people - again.
1 Friday, 09 December 2011 12:39
Tough Love
While John Wisniewski sounds like the typical IN-THE-UNION'S-POCKET politician, while Christie is trying to fix this.

Nobody in the Private Sector gets cash payouts for unused sickdays, so why should TAXPAYERS (85+% of whom are NOT Public Sector employees) pay for it for Public Sector workers.

Even IF changes cannot be made for accruals already in place we must end FURTHER accruals ....immediately. This is simply a matter of "fairness" to Taxpayers. Yes, perhaps these changes can now be made at the local level, but local level politicians need the "cover" of the State demanding and supporting it uniformly to avoid the inevitable wrath of their Union paymasters.

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