In pro football you are still allowed to spike the ball after a touchdown but if you work in conjunction with a teammate on your celebration you will be flagged.
Not so with pension spiking, at least in Scotch Plains, NJ.
Last year I blogged about another politician gaming the system:
Al Mirabella has been a Union County Freeholder since 1991 earning about $30,000 per year for that part-time position that includes membership in the New Jersey Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).
Last Thursday he was appointed the new township administrator for Scotch Plains at a reorganization meeting where it was reported:
“Giamis, the sixth township manager in five years, resigned from his position, citing the “political realities” of a now Democratic council that did not intend to rehire him. The council flipped to a Democrat majority after November’s six-way election, in which two Republicans lost their seats to members of the other party.”
Had Mirabella stayed in his freeholder position only (he has said he will hold both jobs) his annual pension on 1/1/18 after 27 years of service would have been about $14,727 ($30,000 / 55 x 27). With his second job added that annual pension jumps to $73,636 ($150,000 / 55 x 27). That $58,909 annual difference for a relatively young retiree with COLA adjustments is conservatively worth about a million dollars.
Who will pay that extra million dollars? Not the township of Scotch Plains which according to the PERS contribution schedule will only need to pay 11.92% of his salary (about $43,000 over 3 years).
The honest fix is to have the Scotch Plains payment be based on the the actual amount of benefits being accrued on account of that job which would mean about $300,000 annually. That’s not going to happen which is one reason that Mirabella’s extra million dollars doesn’t bother me. It’s only on paper. He will never see anything near that. The sad part is that people who really earn their pensions for real work are in the same boat.
This week we found out that the mayor who brought Mirabella aboard also gave him a boost on his spike: