Thursday, March 5, 2015

Jersey's professional double-dippers

Despite 2007 law, state finds attorneys and others grabbing bennies

Jersey's professional double-dippers

New Jersey State Comptroller Matthew Boxer.
New Jersey State Comptroller Matthew Boxer.

Cynicism about politics is cheap and wearisome, but revelations about purported "public servants" profiting at taxpayer expense can be downright exhausting.

Consider the report this week by New Jersey Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer, who found that private attorneys and other professionals whom a 2007 law deems ineligible for public pension benefits are still sucking them up.

"Despite the clear mandate of (the law) and the accompanying guidance provided to local (governments), an overwhelming majority of (those) surveyed...failed to comply," Boxer said in a statement. The non-compliance in just the 58 municipalities surveyed could be costing those of us who pay taxes in New Jersey $2.2 million a year.

A 40-page testament to the persistent if not permanent gall of Jersey pols and their pals, Boxer's report did not, alas, name names. But it did cite offending municipalities statewide.

That a good number are in the single-party fiefdom of Camden County is no surprise to anyone familiar with the historical coziness between local governments and wired/hired professionals of all sorts.

(Lest we get prematurely lionize Boxer, let's also note the story on Watchdog.org, a citizen journalist website, that suggests the comptroller's office itself has hired professionals who could be considered double-dippers).

Back in the double-dipping mecca of Camden County, one private attorney who does work for 10 municipalities complained that the 2007 law is, tragically, "so confusing."  

Borrowing a line from Midnight Oil's populist anthem "Beds are Burning" (video below), I suggest a clear-cut solution for private professionals who are receiving public pension money despite being statutorially ineligible.

Give it back.

 

Kevin Riordan Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

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