State Pensions with Crooks

The Asbury Park Press (APP) powers a government-records website that tracks, among other things, people receiving New Jersey government pensions (326,401) and convicts (308,207).  These are separate databases but apparently can be cross-checked which is what APP did for a story where they found:

Dozens of convicted criminals are collecting more than a million dollars in taxpayer-funded retirement checks, including at least one who is still behind bars, an Asbury Park Press investigation found.

The list of convicts profiting from state pensions reads like a who’s who of New Jersey corruption: former mayors, an assemblyman, county executives and other politicians convicted of tainting their offices, the Press found.

And while state law bars convicts from receiving a pension check while behind bars, the Press found that wasn’t the case for convicted corrections officer Bobby Singletary, 58, of Paterson. He was paid an annual pension of $51,278 for the past 27 months while in prison. He is serving seven years for smuggling drugs to prisoners.

Since the Press’ discovery, the state Treasury Department said it will cut off Singletary’s checks “later this summer.”

This story is getting some play as a cure-all but for me it summoned up Dr. Evil:

Stopping one million dollars of payments to 40 people will do nothing to avert the pending bankruptcy of the New Jersey retirement system (and will likely cost taxpayers more as legal bills for getting this reform through will be multiples of any savings). Extorting $100 billion from some source (the federal government, taxpayers, retiree givebacks) is a start.

22 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dentss dunnigan on July 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Reason enough to have the taxpayers guarantee pension payments …they were promised weren’t they .


    • Posted by bpaterson on July 28, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      I don’t remember promising anything so I’m clean.


      • Posted by Anonymous on July 28, 2016 at 4:32 pm

        actually you did promise, in fact it was a contract. but with LAW abiding hard working public employees who have performed their jobs and given the services that were required of the state (i.e prison guards, teachers, social workers, state health care workers etc). and actually it is just as insulting to them that these mostly law breaking politicians and probably political appointees give the others a bad name and incite the rest of the state not to keep their contract obligations.


        • Posted by bpaterson on July 28, 2016 at 4:41 pm

          anan432 then you better chase those specific politicians for the money. Like I said
          , as a resident i’m clean. When the politicians admit there is no money doesn’t this all go the bankruptcy/insolvency route and things have to be adjusted some funding retrieved if possible by selling of assets, and then most conditions adjusted downward. It sounds like the workers did their half and the taxpayers did their half, if something doesn’t add up sadly you have to chase those middlemen specifically.


          • Posted by Anonymous on July 28, 2016 at 4:53 pm

            no taxpayers did not do their half. they got tax cuts. those taxes that were supposed to go to the pension fund. so as a taxpayer you got the services and the extra money in your taxes. In this case you had work done that you agreed to pay at a later date and opted to take the tax cut instead. As a taxpayer and a tax cut recipient your obligations have not been met in full.


          • Posted by dentss dunnigan on July 28, 2016 at 6:48 pm

            Every taxpayer paid his taxes in full ,Workers never funded what they should have ,who ever thinks they could put in 3% of their pay check and get a pension for life with medical benefits .It wasn’t till cc made the workers fork over 9% which is still too low .so let the workers pay into their pensions ,the taxpayers have already paid their fair share .


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 28, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Very good point. didn’t Michelle Obama say she was taught that a promise is a promise ? I guess that is how people with class think and behave.


      • Posted by S Douglas Moderation Trough Feeder on July 29, 2016 at 1:51 pm

        Very good point. didn’t Michelle Obama say she was taught that a promise is a promise ? I guess that is how people with class think and behave.
        Has she even worked in the last 10+ YEARS? Did she pay ANY taxes?


      • Posted by PS Drone on July 29, 2016 at 3:02 pm

        Promises made by corrupt politicians representing only themselves and crooked union bosses are not promises that taxpayers need to keep. No one honestly representing taxpayers was involved when these “contracts”, which constituted grand larceny in bestowing pensions and post retirement medical benefits beyond any scope of reasonableness or rationality, were concocted.


        • Posted by Anonymous on July 29, 2016 at 4:12 pm

          As long as you voted for them they represented you. I didn’t hear the “taxpayers” clamoring to vote them out or that they were corrupt or that they were not honestly representing them when they were giving the tax cuts. If you didn’t vote that was on you. They represented the taxpayers at the time they made the contracts, and at the time the taxpayers agreed with Whitman they wanted something for nothing (ie tax cuts). The voters didn’t want to pay what they owed then and now taxpayers don’t want to pay what you owe for previously performed work. At this time if the state owes any contractor for a road, a bridge, even a private contractor for cleaning streets, just don’t pay them for the original contract after the work is done and see what happens. Tell all the private companies you owe money that the state did not make promises that the taxpayer needs to keep. Tell them that after the contract work was done that it was beyond the scope of reasonableness. The taxpayer CHOSE to elect officials that would give them tax cuts knowing full well that the money they needed to run the state would have to come from somewhere, but didn’t care. The taxpayers have not paid their proper share into the pension fund since the tax cuts took place and gladly took the from the pension fund for that purpose. Monday morning regret and quarterbacking is all that people who don’t want to pay are doing. We tell our children that they are responsible for their actions. Well the people in the state of NJ are responsible for electing officials and Whitman, and now must take the consequences of their actions. They GLADLY elected her and GLADLY/JOYFULLY took the tax cuts at the time. I remember, I was here in NJ…. and did not vote for her for that reason, knowing full well she was borrowing from the taxpayers and a bill would come due later.


          • Posted by Anonymous on July 29, 2016 at 4:25 pm

            Remember WHITMAN was elected based on the promise of a 30% tax cut with no explanation on where the reductions would come from. Imagine having your salary cut 30% and still having the same obligations that you had before the pay cut, you couldn’t possibly meet the demands of your obligations. BUT the state of NJ voters elected her. They didn’t care or didn’t understand the consequences but that is not an excuse and it doesn’t help to meet the obligations that existed. I remember the slogans Florio Free in 93, get rid of the governor who raised our sales tax well that sales tax is still the same, and instead NJ got a 30% income tax cut and no budget reductions were made to pay for it, except not paying into the pension fund.


          • Posted by PS Drone on July 29, 2016 at 5:18 pm

            I will vote to make all contributions necessary to fund pensions that are:
            – maxed at $60K per annum, single, double or triple dippers included
            – payable at age 66, not before
            – CPI same as SS, no more
            – No post-retirement Medical; recipient pays Medicare premium, not State.

            Those are the types of “promises” that should have been made in the first place, not the “contracts” made by lying, corrupt, self-serving NJ politicians. And BTW, I vaguely recall that the ENTIRE income tax was supposed to defray onerous and regressive real estate taxes. Don’t recall that “promise” being kept either so you can keep your crocodile tears.


  2. Posted by Anonymous on July 28, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    There’s never been honor amongst thieves and with likes of Christie and Trump they’ll be no honor period.


  3. Posted by MJ on July 29, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Im still stuck on the jailed correction officer’s 51,000 a year pension…more than most people make working full time and he’s a crook of some sort….and they wonder why the system is going belly up


  4. Posted by Anonymous on July 29, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Prior to Whitman, there were no problems funding the state pensions. And no one suggested that there would be any problem funding pensions. What happened after Whitman was inevitable. The state accumulated debt by borrowing 3.2 billion dollars to cover the tax cuts and the budget has never recovered from the foolish strategy of Whitman. Now only the public workers are expected to cover for the tax cuts we all received in which most of the money from the cuts went to the wealthiest. Sure everybody wants something for nothing and with Whitman they got it, except for the public workers and retirees who have been left holding the bag. You can rationalize all you want that pensions were too generous or worker contributions were too low , but a deal is a deal. And anything else is just rationalization. The Whitman tax cut was a fraud and either the taxes need to be returned to pre Whitman levels. Or alternatively reductions need to be made to the budget across the board if people are willing to live with less in services or a combination of tax increases and budget reductions could be made to properly meet obligations. What we have now is a small group of the state’s citizens being told they must sacrifice so that the large majority of citizens can skip out on obligations and pay nothing more and sacrifice nothing for the tax cuts they received.


  5. Posted by Anonymous on July 29, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    First of all PSDRONE, a very small percentage now receive 60k pensions. Secondly the cola is based on only 60% of CPI which is less than SS right now and no cola is being paid at all. Most pay the full medicare now if they began working after 1976..


  6. Posted by Anonymous on July 29, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    to psdrone
    sure max the pension to 60000. That amount is a pipe dream for the average worker anyway. Currently the average state worker (and I mean everyday hard working average worker) doesn’t get anywhere near that amount anyway. also if you want to do that find then
    1. they should not be paying on their full salary like the rich do not pay into ssa and
    2. limit everyone and I mean everyone ceo’s and bankers and private workers to that amount also because every time you buy their products or get services from private industry you are essentially paying their pensions and salaries.

    as far as the cpi the state retirees usually do not even get the same cpi as ssa and as you know in fact now they are not even getting any. so maybe you need to think again on that one.

    medical that sounds fine, except they since that is part of their compensation/salary then you need to raise the salary of the average state worker. the state worker earns less than private industry as has been stated often on this cite. the medical benefits and compensation is what puts them in the running with the private sector salaries. so no medical fine, but salary increases. retirees now who get the medical received considerably less in salary, thus the term DEFERRED compensation. you are currently paying them for work they previously performed and paying them in the form of medical benefits.


  7. Posted by Anonymous on July 29, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    to psdrone
    lastly, those crocodile tears seem to be coming from the non state workers in new jersey who don’t want to meet their obligations and now want to cry about it. poor me, we owe money to people who worked for us for 30 years.


  8. Posted by Anonymous on July 29, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    and by the way psdrone I am not a nj public employee. I just believe in fairness for me so I have to believe in fairness for them too. if my employer had done to me what the state has done to these people I would be furious and be in court and would win.


    • Posted by PS Drone on July 30, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      So it is “fair” to collect a pension immediately in the public sector after working for 30 years but with SS one has to wait until age 66 (or 62 with serious haircuts),100% vested or not? Why should taxpayers pay drones to sit on their ass at age 55 when they (the ones paying for it) have to sweat it out for another 7 or 11 years, particularly when mortality (average age of death) keeps expanding? Bogus promises need to be retroactively rectified, so stop with the guilt trips of “contracts are contracts” and “pensions are a promise” and “its deferred compensation” because we were paid way less than we should have been blah blah blah. It’s all lip service and self-serving BS.


      • Posted by Anonymous on July 30, 2016 at 7:00 pm

        if you think the jobs and the benefits are so great working for the state, then why aren’t you working there. it should also be noted then when state worker retires early he gets about half of what he was making. note social security was never meant as a pension plan. it was and is a social insurance to prevent workers from having nothing. and rules for private and public sector for social security do not differ.


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