NJ Politics Digest: Victims Agency Seems More Concerned About Paying Bureaucrats

The Victims of Crime Compensation Office is supposed to help victims of violent crimes, but a report shows the agency has cut back aid while increasing staff salaries.

Victims of Crime Compensation Office Executive Director Alvin Ricardo Little. Victims of Crime Compensation Office

The New Jersey Victims of Crime Compensation Office is supposed to help victims of violent crimes, but a report by radio station NJ101.5 shows the agency has been cutting back on its aid while increasing the salaries paid to staff members.

Between 2012 and 2016, the office has gone from paying on 44 percent of claims to 37 percent of claims. Meanwhile, the report notes, the office’s overhead costs skyrocketed from $1.1 million in 2014 to $3 million in 2016.

The agency’s 31 employees earned pensionable wages totaling $1.88 million before overtime, according to the report. This includes Executive Director Alvin Ricardo Little, who earns $126,000 and Deputy Director Louise T. Lester, who earns $118,000, according to the report.

As the cost of running the agency has risen, agency personnel have cracked down on payments they approve, according to the report. In 2013, the agency rejected 5 percent of claims because it found the victim to be partially at fault. In 2016, that number rose to 7.5 percent, the report said.

Quote of the Day: “They took something that was working beautifully and just pretty much erased it and turned it into a bad bureaucracy. That’s what it is; that’s what it became,” Richard Pompelio, director of the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center, on the state Victims of Crime Compensation Office.

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NJ Politics Digest: Victims Agency Seems More Concerned About Paying Bureaucrats