P.L. 2007, c. 29, which became effective on January 1, 2008, was reform legislation “designed to ensure the system serves career public employees rather than political appointees” and to “cut out the entrenched core of abuse that has been corrupting our pension and benefits systems from within.” One of the components of the new law, N.J.S.A. 43:15A-7.2, excluded professional services contractors, such as municipal lawyers, architects and engineers from enrolling in the state’s PERS pension system.
At least one lawyer in New Jersey had a problem with that and his employers offered help.
The Township of Commerical on August 21, 2008 had on their agenda an innocuous looking ordinance:
which worked out fine until the Division of Pensions and Benefits got wind of it and sent a letter that begins:
But it did not end there. Lawyer Thomas Seeley is not in the New Jersey retirement system currently and he had his employee contributions returned to him (no word on whether Commercial got their deposits back on the employer portion) but was it ethical the way township officials attempted to evade the law?
John Paff and the New Jersey Libertarian Party thought not so they filed a complaint with the Local Finance Board on April 23, 2013 on the grounds that:
N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.5(c) states that “no local government officer or employee shall use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others”
Perfectly legal then in New Jersey to try and avoid a pension-padding law as long as you do not succeed though we may never know how many others have indeed succeeded.