Double Dipping Do’s & Don’ts

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PERTH AMBOY — City Council members endorsed state legislation that would suspend the pension of any retired public employee who resumes government employment and at the same meeting voted to hire another ‘double dipper.’

State Sen. Jennifer Beck submitted legislation (S-2716) aimed at ending ‘double dipping’ by prohibiting retired public employees that return to government service from collecting pension payments while on payroll.

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The Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting Beck’s legislation, but then four of the five governing body members voted to hire another retired public employee.

Councilman Fernando Gonzalez, who cast the only dissenting vote, proposed an ordinance to prohibit the hiring of anybody who is collecting a public pension, but the city attorney failed to draft the legislation saying he was told by another councilman, Kenneth Gonzalez, that there is no interest in measure among governing body members.

The remaining members okay’d the appointment of Frank Dann as director of the Department of Public Works and waived the residency requirement.

The last four people hired by the city were collecting public pensions and were given residency waivers because they lived out of town.

They were Jane Feigenbaum, the city’s former business administrator; Paul Wnek, former director of the Department of Public Works; Gregory C. Fehrenbach, the current business administrator whose salary is $200,000 on top of a pension of $90,155; and Dann, who is collecting a $57,450 pension.

Fehrenbach also owns a consulting firm called Government Management Advisors, which has contracts with several municipalities.

A Moody’s Investors Services report issued in March alleged that New Jersey pension reform proposals are not enough to prevent the retirement systems from deteriorating.

Earlier this month, citing financial stresses of its large unfunded pension liabilities, Standard & Poor’s lowered its ratings on the state of New Jersey’s general obligation debt.


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