16 New Jersey towns cited for abuse, fraud, and waste
Hey, NJ. You’ve been at this game of blowing our money for a very long time. But now, it seems that Someone’s watching over you. That someone is the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation (SCI) which recently completed a report on wasteful practices and abuse of taxpayer dollars in NJ towns.
And boy, is it a doozy. It’s no surprise to any of us that one of the biggest wastes of money in local NJ government is what’s known as terminal leave. Practiced differently in different towns, terminal leave is a method by which retiring government workers get to cash in on unused sick pay or other types of paid leave.
Some combine all unused time and call that terminal leave; depending on the town, it can be a real cash cow, with some retiring employees receiving huge cash lump sums on top of their unused time payouts. I’ve always maintained that your reward for never having taken a sick day at work is the fact that you were healthy! Why does it also deserve a cash prize?
This ridiculous policy adds up: According to a post on North Jersey.com, in one New Jersey town, the amount it would have to pay if every worker retired right now — is over $19 million. That’s more than the entire town budget. How can this possibly be sustained?
It’s unconscionable that in New Jersey taxpayers pockets are considered some kind of bottomless pit. And although I don’t think it’ll change anytime soon, at least the problem finally has attention being paid to it.
According to an article on patch.com, the SCI report states that "It is simply absurd that, more than 20 years after the commission first sounded the alarm about excessive compensation and questionable perks for public employees, these practices remain the norm in many areas.”
The Patch article also lists the cities that the SCI report says display the most egregious examples of this and other types of waste and abuse, describing the transgressions of each town in detail. We’re talking millions of dollars of YOUR money, here. Some of these towns’ appearances on this list are surprising. Others — not so much. Is your town on the list?
- East Orange
- Englewood Cliffs
- Franklin Township (Somerset county)
- Jersey City
- Long Branch
- Ocean City
- Toms River
More from New Jersey 101.5: