SOUTH RIVER – Gov. Chris Christie blasted the Democratic-led Legislature Tuesday for not taking action on reforming unused sick-day payouts that, he said, have cost towns millions if not billions in taxpayer dollars.
The issue, which wasn’t taken up by the Legislature in the last session, has not faded away, and Christie promised it will be a campaign issue.
Various lawmakers, including Democratic leaders Steve Sweeney and Paul Sarlo, have proposed legislation that would cap the amount that recipients would be able to collect when retiring, such as at $7,500.
But Christie remains inflexible on the issue, insisting he will settle for nothing less than a zero payout.
“I will not compromise on this. Zero means zero. It’s got to be fixed.”
He accused the Legislature of being “in the pocket” of the public-sector unions, a group that Christie noted has supported his opponent, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Barbara Buono.
He said there’s no point in bringing up the issue now since the Legislature is not in session, and doesn’t want his pleas to be echoed in the “empty chambers ” of the Statehouse.
Sick day payouts, derisively known as “boat checks,” have commonly reached six figures for some long-serving employees. Just recently, officers in Jersey City and the Teaneck police chief collected huge payouts.