Kean Criticizes Sweeney For Inaction On Sick Leave Reform Bill

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State Sen. Tom Kean

State Sen. Tom Kean

TRENTON — Over a year ago, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney introduced a bill to limit payment of supplemental compensation at retirement for unused sick time for public employees. It was referred to a committee and has not been scheduled for a vote. Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. criticized him yesterday for not doing more to move the bill forward.

“I agree with what the Senate President said last year and what Republicans have been saying for three years, zero means zero and sick time should be for when you’re sick,” said Kean (R- Union). “There is overwhelming, bipartisan support for reform. What are we waiting for?”

Kean pointed to the recent retirement of Parsippany’s police chief, who left the force with over $300,000 in unused sick and vacation time. Additionally, it was announced last month that Atlantic City, which has previously bonded to cover terminal leave payments, will pay 15 retiring employees a total of $2.2 million in terminal leave this year.

The Christie Administration has estimated the aggregate unused sick leave liability statewide at over $800 million.

“The burden on property tax payers grows every single day there is inaction,” Kean said. “There is no justifiable reason for failure to pass this reform, other than to continue to bow to the moneyed special interests that think that paid sick days are a retirement plan rather than a benefit to be used when an employee falls ill. Rather than make up controversies about which firm the Governor hired to clean up after Superstorm Sandy, let’s save taxpayers some money.”

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