McKeon hopes towns can rehire retired workers during Sandy rebuilding

TRENTON – A lawmaker hopes recently retired public workers can be rehired to help towns rebuild after superstorm Sandy.

Assemblyman John McKeon, D-27, West Orange, has asked the Treasury Department to suspend certain pension requirements so towns devastated by Sandy can hire skilled workers to help with long-term recovery efforts.

Currently, any retiree under the state Public Employees Retirement System who works more than 32 hours per week and earns more than $15,000 per year from a municipality is required to re-enroll in the pension system. 

McKeon sent a letter to State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff earlier this week asking the department to suspend the requirement if it had not done so already.

“As the former Mayor of West Orange, I know how valuable experienced and skilled employees are, especially during a crisis,” said McKeon in a release.. 

“Experienced engineers, tax assessors, public works employees with detailed knowledge of local infrastructure can all prove invaluable.  I would hate to see towns in desperate need of help denied the expertise of skilled retirees because of these current pension restrictions.”

McKeon, a mayor of West Orange for 12 years, said there are many retired workers such as tax assessors, inspectors and others whose skills would be valuable to recovering towns.

He said it is his understanding that the 32-hour-a-week threshold remains in effect but that the $15,000 threshold may have been lifted.

Treasury spokespeople could not be reached immediately for comment.

McKeon hopes towns can rehire retired workers during Sandy rebuilding