TEANECK– Today, a bipartisan group of 234 mayors joined Gov. Chris Christie’s call for the legislature to pass sick and vacation pay reform.
Currently, public workers are allowed to accumulate sick days and vacation days and can collect payment for any unused time when they retire. The Democrat-controlled Legislature passed a bill that would have capped future payouts at $15,000, but Christie vetoed it. He wants to eliminate the retirement payouts entirely.
Eleven mayors joined the governor at a press conference in Teaneck, including Bergen County Executive Kathe Donovan and Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin, to demand action on the governor’s proposal.
“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,” said Christie. “Like the other tool kit bills, real sick and vacation 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.”
Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) was critical of the governor’s PR campaign. “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,” Wisniewski said in a statement. “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.”
Liabilities facing taxpayers across the state for unused sick and vacation day benefits total more than $825 million, according to the governor’s office. In Teaneck, taxpayers have nearly $4.4 million in total sick and vacation liabilities owed to public workers today. For Bergen County as a whole, municipal liabilities total nearly $91.8 million.
Without reform, sick and vacation benefit liabilities will continue to accrue. The governor’s office highlighted examples in some of the state’s larger municipalities.
Estimated Total Accumulated Sick and Vacation Time Owed to Public Workers
New Brunswick: $14.5 million in accumulated payouts ($1,330 per taxpayer)
Jersey City: $74 million ($1,174 per taxpayer)
Hackensack: $18.9 million ($1,030 per taxpayer)
Newark: $46.1 million ($770 per taxpayer)
Atlantic City: $34.6 million ($426 per taxpayer)
Camden: $23.2 million ($770 per taxpayer)
Elizabeth: $18.3 million ($691 per taxpayer)
Edison: $14.6 million ($352 per taxpayer)
Union City: $14.6 million ($493 per taxpayer)
Mayors from every New Jersey county have joined with the governor to demand action in this legislative session on these reforms. The following local mayors are among the group:
- Mayor Winthrop Cody, Cranbury – Republican
- Mayor Robert Seader, Dunellen – Republican
- Mayor Nancy Martin, Helmetta – Independent
- Mayor Robert Sherr, Middlesex – Republican
- Mayor-Elect Owen Henry, Old Bridge – Republican
- Mayor Wilda Diaz, Perth Amboy – Democrat
- Mayor Kennedy O’Brien, Sayreville – Republican
- Mayor Matthew Anesh, South Plainfield – Republican
- Mayor Raymond Eppinger, South River – Republican
- Mayor Thomas Barlow, Spotswood – Democrat
- Mayor Joseph Menza, Hillside – Independent
- Mayor Kathi Fiamingo, Kenilworth – Republican
- Mayor Richard Gerbounka, Linden – Independent
- Mayor Joseph Accardi, Roselle Park – Republican
- Mayor Nancy Malool, Scotch Plains – Republican
- Mayor Andrew Skibitsky, Westfield – Republican
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