For years Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been demanding the elimination of huge end-of-career payouts to public employees for their unused sick and vacation days.

Statehouse (
Statehouse (

Some of the payouts are so huge that Christie has taken to calling them, "boat checks." Assembly Republicans are demanding that the Democrat-controlled legislature take up the issue in the current lame duck session.

"The governor has come to affectionately call them boat checks, the giant payouts for sick and vacation days for departing municipal employees that can tank a municipal budget," said Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-Freehold). "I guarantee you'd be hard pressed to find a Democrat who ran on the platform of maintaining boat checks."

In 2011, State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) introduced a bill to cap the cash-outs at $7,500. He called it a compromise, but Christie called it a joke.

"These payouts cost taxpayers between $800 and $900 million per year," said Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Belford) last week. "Almost a billion dollars is going out the door. It's going into the Atlantic Ocean."

Sarlo's bill from 2011 would end the huge six-figure payouts that are doled out to some retiring public employees and at the time he said his measure would discourage public workers from using up all of their sick time every single year. Those arguments didn't resonate with Christie.

"Let's just get down to it, okay?" said Christie in late December of 2011. "Zero should mean zero and I don't see myself compromising on this……Everybody understands that sick leave should be when you're sick and their argument is; Well, people may use it otherwise in a fraudulent way therefore we have to pay them not to commit fraud."

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