OLD BRIDGE – State Sen. Sam Thompson plans to introduce legislation at the next Senate quorum on Monday that would cap the salaries of employees at local sewerage, utilities and county improvement authorities, and end other employee perks funded by public dollars.
“This bill will put a muzzle and leash on piggish public employees who think they can fill their gaping maws with the people’s money, because no one knows who they are or what they do,” said Thompson (R-Middlesex). “Newsflash to them: more and more people are starting to realize that you make excessive incomes and are afforded outlandish perks.”
Thompson pointed to Middlesex County Improvement Authority Executive Director Richard Pucci as an example. According to recent news reports, Pucci collects a $210,000 salary, plus health benefits, five weeks of vacation time, and a $400 per month car allowance from the Authority. Pucci is also paid $30,000 in public dollars plus a payment in lieu of health benefits as Mayor of Monroe. The total approximate value of his public compensation exceeds $250,000, and he stands to receive an annual public pension upon retirement that exceeds $150,000.
“With a public compensation package exceeding a quarter million dollars, Mr. Pucci is in line for an annual pension exceeding $150,000,” Thompson noted. “That’s more than state employees and department heads earn for working full time. That’s flat wrong and disgusting.”
Thompson’s legislation would cap the salaries of employees at local sewerage, utilities and county improvement authorities at the maximum salary for State Cabinet officers, which right now is set by statute at $141,000. The bill would also prohibit employees from receiving a car, an allowance toward the purchase or lease of a car and an expense account. It would ban employees from receiving a public payment in lieu of health insurance if that employee receives health insurance and it would prevent annual sick day payouts.
“This Legislature has capped school Superintendents’ salaries, we’ve made bipartisan pension and benefits reform to cap annual pension payments so employees such as Mr. Pucci cannot collect pensions that the system cannot support,” Thompson added. “We must immediately pass this legislation to end the type of indefensible government greed that makes New Jersey one of the most frustrating places to be a taxpayer, and one of the most expensive places to raise a family and create jobs.”
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