Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 7, 2014 Middletown Township Committee Meeting: Police Chief Retires with $250K Payout

Last Monday the Middletown Township Committee held its monthly workshop meeting. The meeting lasted about an hour, which was nearly double the time of recent workshop meetings of the past. It was a busy meeting, a lot was discussed. Namely the retirement of Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches. Upon his retirement effective August 1st, Chief Oches will walk away with a  $249, 338 check for unused sick and vacation time that has been accumulated over his 40 years of service.

 Now in general I have no problem with this, Chief Oches served Middletown admirably over his 40 year career and played by the rules. He is entitled to this payout and I wish him well and hope he uses it wisely during his retirement. However, I do  happen to agree with the members of the Township Committee and think these types of payouts are extravagant budget busters that need to end.  But what really annoys me most about this is the self-righteous indignation that was expressed while discussing this issue.

As usual, our very partisan, all Republican Township Committee placed blame for these types of payouts at the feet of the Democrats in Trenton. They implored the Democratically controlled state legislature to do something about this problem and couldn't believe why they would allow this to go on.

The Committee members seem to forget however that the Democrats did do something about. They sent a bill to the desk of  Governor Christie during the early days of his 1st term in office that capped the payouts for unused sick time and vacation days at $15K! Christie however vetoed the bill because it didn't go far enough. He wanted to eliminate (unrealistically in my opinion) these types of payout all together.

You can watch the whole discussion starting at the 19:50 mark of the video.

As it turns out, all the belly-aching that the Township Committee did last week about having to shell out nearly $250K to our retiring police chief, seems to have caught the attention of NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney, who along with Monmouth County State Senator Joe Kyrillos (a Middletown resident)  issued a joint statement - that should make Middletown Township Committee members happy - which said, "We continue to see hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts to employees simply because they were fortunate enough not to get sick, it's a policy that is grossly unfair to the taxpayers of New Jersey and one the state cannot sustain given our current budgetary issues." according to yesterday's Asbury Park Press.  The article continued to state however that Governor Christie's all or nothing position on the issue hasn't changed.

So maybe it's time for Gerry Scharfenberger, Tony Fiore, Stephanie Murrary, Kevin Settembrino and Steve Massel to put-up or shut-up and issue a resolution calling on their beloved governor to compromise with members of the state legislature on this issue and accept a cap on these type of employee windfalls upon retirement. After all, it would be a whole lot better to pay out just $15K to a retiree than the quarter $Million or more that towns like Middletown are in the process of paying out now or in the future.

As always, you can download a copy of the Meeting Agenda that contains the discussion items and the proposed resolutions and ordinances that were voted on or presented during the meeting. A box around an item is a link, bringing you further into the document to that resolution or ordinance. At the end of the resolution there will be a link bringing you back to the agenda. Attached to this agenda is also the monthly bill list, so that everyone can see how the Township is spending our tax dollars.


Anonymous said...

I guess you missed the article in the APP where Fiore disagreed with the Governor's veto and agreed with Kyrillos and his co-sponsored bill with Sweeney

Anonymous said...

People that have jobs with even a moderate amount of stress need to take mental health days. If someone accumulates so many sick days over the course of a career, I would guess that either they have a very unstressful job, or they are taking days off the books.

Anonymous said...

Fiore also said that whoever in Trenton is not using Middleotwn's pension payments for pensions should be held accountable.

Michael Morris said...

That would be the governor wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

I think employees should get a check for unused sick days at the end of each year. That way the payouts would be limited to their current pay rate.

Margie R. said...

EXCELLENT suggestion 4:35!!!!

Anonymous said...

pay them half the amount per day, if they use them they are worth the day, if they don't then they get the amount of days times half the value. Win-win for everyone.

Anonymous said...

The Police agreed a 1.5% increase in their pension contribution to 10%. gov cc said the increase would be applied to the pension deficit. In reality no one cent has been applied to the pension deficit he says exists. Another lie.

Anonymous said...

What does Fiore mean by accountable ?

The governor in jail for breaking the law ? His conduct is questionable everyday about everything !

Anonymous said...

9:00 PM, my spouse and I work for private sector companies that pay for full unused sick days at the end of each year. Why should government workers be penalized by only getting paid for half their time?

Tell It Like It Really Is said...

Anon 9:13....

Most private sector jobs do not pay for sick's use them or lose them and if they do pay for the few granted it's at current wage rates....not accumulate then in earlier days and get paid for them at higher rates in retirement.

Am retired from what was once was of the largest employers in the world and sick days and pay for disability was just that...for sick time and disability.....and that company had absence control programs that harassed you when you were sick.

The policy of saving sick days pay for retirement cash outs is obscene
and should be stopped because it is bankrupting the states that have it. It is beyond the ability of the taxpayers to pay!!

Anonymous said...

Tell It Like It Really Is,

That's my point: my spouse and I get paid for unused sick days at the end of *each* year - at our current rate of pay. I feel we're lucky to have this benefit in our private sector jobs and I think the government should consider doing this for their workers. In my job you can carry your sick days over until March 1st of the next year - or get paid for them.
To clarify my original point: I think the government should go to the system I've listed above, but I don't agree with the statement that gov't employees should be paid for half their unused sick time. That isn't fair to them.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:54,

The federal government does not have this kind of sick pay policy and state government workers should not have it either.

Guess the unions never thought about the taxpayers while in negotiations and today economic conditions clearly show why the practice is unsustainable. It's atrocious financial policy and was always politically practiced to buy votes regardless of who was in power and responsible such poor
monetary policy. It's a kind of ponzi scheme.

Couple that with the raids on the pension funds by former governors and the unwillingness to fund the pension fund obligation in this state and we have financial disaster on the horizon and no one willing to stop the nonsense and really to undertake fixing the problem.

All talk,big mouths,empty promises and no action from any of the politicians....NONE of them !!

Michael Cleary said...

Why didnt Gerry Scharfenberger attempt to change any of Middletown's sick pay and personal time reimbursement when he was Mayor? Why didn't he attempt to negotiate a better settlement for the taxpayer's of Middletown when he was Mayor? Did Gerry Scharfenberger complain to the Governor about Government employees that have multiple jobs? Time to vote out the Republicans of Middletown

Michael Cleary
Middletown NJ