“People don’t do what they believe in, they just do what’s most convenient, then they repent.”
The Christie/Bridgegate trial is just about over and according to an observer one of the defendants had a good lawyer:
The surprise, to me at least, is that Bridget Kelly is no monster.
For three years, I thought she was the culprit who pulled the trigger on all this with her infamous email “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
But this trial shook that up. Kelly swore that she was just relaying the governor’s instructions that day. She was asked to get his sign-off on the plan to close those lanes, and that’s what she did before giving the go-ahead.
She knew nothing about traffic studies, real or fake. She was just the contact person at the governor’s office for the Port Authority. She was no mastermind, she swore; she was just a messenger.
“I was scared,” she said. “This was a Port Authority project.”
On that core point, my guess is that jurors believed her, as did most people I talked to who attended the trial — the press, the lawyers and politicians who came to watch, even the curious retirees.
Possibly convincing until you get to the question….
The second paragraph of the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program handbook on eligibility reads:
Any newly appointed or elected officer will be required to work a minimum of 35 hours per week to be considered “full-time” and eligible for coverage under the SHBP/SEHBP.
Getting part-time elected officials off the benefits gravy train was one of the first initiatives of Governor Christie in 2010 but when you are dealing with elected officials often put in office by lawyers that they then hire to give them the legal opinions they want this is what you can expect:
The second multiemployer (union) plan to try and reduce participant benefits under MPRA was also the second denial. It may now be broke.
The Road Carriers Local 707 Pension Fund recently filed their 5500 form for the year ended January 31, 2016 and here is the relevant data:
2016-849: Authorizing the County Manager to award a contract to Mutual of America, Parsippany, New Jersey, in an amount not to exceed $111,903.97 for the period of July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 to implement an employee 401(a) benefits plan for county employees not covered under the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS).
As explained, this plan covers county employees who were at one time not eligible to enter the state plan:
But aren’t those employees much better off since the plan they were not allowed to enter is one that New Jersey is responsible for funding?
On September 27, 2016 trustees of the Automotive Industries Pension Fund out of Alameda, CA became the tenth multiemployer (union) plan to file for benefit cuts under MPRA in an attempt to avoid insolvency.
From their latest 5500 form here is the plan’s relevant data:
Mike Lilly through the American Enterprise Institute released a paper this week titled Pensions, Politics, and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) which argued that the NJEA has undue influence over policy issues in this state, pointing out:
Phil Murphy got the political boss of Union County on board and is virtually assured of being the next governor of New Jersey.
Yesterday Murphy held a townhall meeting at The College of New Jersey where after over an hour of opening remarks the audience got to ask questions. The first one was on the New Jersey pension system: