TRENTON – In the wake of a Comptroller’s report today that disclosed widespread abuses of the public pension system by contract employees, a state lawmaker has promised legislation to combat the problem.
Assemblywoman Donna Simon, (R-16), Flemington, said today she will introduce a bill to stop towns from illegally awarding taxpayer-funded pensions to professionals such as lawyers or engineers who are part-time contractors.
She said in a release that the bill will follow up with other reforms recommended by Comptroller Matthew Boxer.
“Placing independent contractors in the state pension system is wrong, illegal and steals significant dollars from taxpayers throughout the state,” Simon said.
“The Comptroller looked at a small sample of towns and school districts and found many examples of people who may have received illegal pension credits. It’s incredible to think of the abuse that exists in the other 1,000 towns and school districts in New Jersey.”
The office studied 58 municipalities and school districts and disclosed abuses that could cost a total of $1.9 million a year.
In the report, the Comptroller’s office reported that it has referred 202 cases of improper pensions for further review.
Simon’s bill would fine municipalities and school districts that do not follow the Comptroller’s recommendation of using a checklist to certify pension eligibility.
“Local officials must have clear guidance on the law and strong penalties against ignoring it,” Simon said.