Politicians Cashing In – Still

Politico.com had an interesting article on how New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney killed a pension-padding bill for politicians:

Last week, Matt [Friedman] you all about the 11 elected officials who applied to take advantage of the new law that lets some politicians buy back time they spent out of the pension system, allowing them to further pad their retirement income and do so at the same tier they were at previously. The bill was designed to benefit former Camden Mayor Dana Redd, and it was signed by Gov. Chris Christie just days after Redd was hired as the CEO of an obscure university governing board at a salary of $275,000.

One of the more interesting things Matt found in the documents he obtained through a public record request involve the application of Sen. James Beach (D-Camden). It appeared not to make financial sense for Beach to re-enroll under the law: he would need to pay the pension system $150,000 to qualify. That’s what the state told him in a letter sent on April 16. Two months later, in the midst of budget negotiations in June, Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex) introduced a bill that would allow elected officials who are already receiving pensions to continue receiving the benefits while re-enrolling in the system and building more credits. They wouldn’t have to pay back any money. Voila! Beach could get back in and without giving away the farm.

But that bill, which McKeon said he introduced at the request of “leadership,” didn’t make it to the floor of either house after Matt revealed its existence and other reporters followed up. What happened to it? According to Senate President Steve Sweeney, it died at his hands. “I was never going to do it,” Sweeney said during a two-hour interview with the POLITICO staff on Friday. Where did it come from? “The Assembly. It wasn’t my bill,” Sweeney said.

The Senate president made the remarks as he pushes Gov. Phil Murphy and fellow lawmakers to consider further cuts to public employee pensions and health benefits that are outlined in a new report from his fiscal policy working group. When Matt suggested he wasn’t leading by example, given the brazen efforts to pad the pensions of elected officials, Sweeney swung back hard. “Not true. You’re wrong,” he snapped, cutting Matt off. Why, pray tell? Because of the 2007 law that cut future elected officials out of the pension system. “There are thousands of people that are not in the pension system today that would have been in the pension system if we didn’t make the change.” He added: “You can’t make 11 the example when there’s thousands that are out.”

Not quite all out according to a review of current retirees.

For countywatchers I did an update of Union County retirees in a spreadsheet, sorted by employer and name, of 17,017 retirees getting total annual benefits of $571,625,854 whose last Employer was in Union County. Among those retirees:

GLOVER, KEVIN $645 4/1/2017 1951 71 $6,000.00

Kevin Glover was elected to the Scotch Plains Council on the November 8, 2010, was elected Mayor on the November 6, 2012 and then lost in 2016. This accounts for the 5 years and 11 months of service. $6,000 is about the range of salary for a Scotch Plains Council member. According to the PERS benefit formula:

$6,000 x 5.916666 / 55 = $645.

Everything checks with this pension being paid on account of part-time service as an elected official  but according to page 7 of the Pension Administration Manual:

ElECTED OFFICIALS

Elected officials whose term begins on or after July 1, 2007, must be enrolled into the DCRP under N .J.S .A . 43:15C-2, not the PERS. Enrollment in these cases into the DCRP is not optional .

So why is Kevin Glover receiving a pension and are there any other elected officials still in the New Jersey Retirement System? A spreadsheet of retirees after January 1, 2010 whose pension salaries were $15,000 or below includes 1,571 names.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by PS Drone on August 20, 2018 at 11:40 am

    If the corrupt, lying NJ politicians can extract more blood from the sad sack NJ taxpayers they will do it at any and every opportunity. Anyone who lives and pays taxes in NJ deserves this because we keep electing and re-electing these self-serving CS.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on August 20, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      All a distraction …………..

      OTHER “Public” sector Plans do not pay for the DB pension Plans granted MA’s Public Sector workers. They are mostly paid for by MA’s PRIVATE Sector taxpayers, so the generosity of the Public Sector workers’ DB pension should rightfully be compared to the retirement security contributions (almost all via 401K DC Plans) typically granted it’sPrivate Sector workers.

      When that is done …….. including MA’s unfunded liability for it’s Public Sector DB Plans which falls 100% to MA’s Taxpayers, the comparison will show that the taxpayer paid-fore share of it Public Sector workers’ DB pensions FAR FAR exceeds the retirement security contributions that it’s Private Sector workers receive from their employers.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Tough Love on August 20, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Sweeney’s road show ………………

    https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/sweeney-touts-pension-overhaul-plan-to-make-new-jersey-more/article_f9786697-5a1e-57eb-a76f-b50c8ac70f5e.html

    Not a bad START, but we MUST go further ……… MUCH FURTHER.

    ALL current workers should be switched to the new pension proposal for their FUTURE service. NJ simply CANNOT afford to continue crediting pension accruals on the current LUDICROUSLY generous terms for the balance of everyone’s career who now have only 5 years of service.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on August 22, 2018 at 9:07 am

    https://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/08/gop_lawmaker_nj_is_still_fixable_but_were_running.html

    And ALL politicans, regardless of service credit, be switched to a DCP immediately!

    Reply

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