Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Casagrande Introduces Sick Time and Vacation Reforms
By Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, R-Monmouth and Mercer, 12th Legislative District
Nearly every day we learn of another public official cashing out an exorbitant amount of unused sick or vacation time at retirement: $132,223 for the Freehold Regional schools superintendent, $153,790 for the Keansburg police chief, and of course, the infamous $741,000 retirement package to the Keansburg schools superintendent, which included $184,000 for unused time.
It’s not just retired public employees who take advantage. From 2008 to 2010, three firefighters in Camden collectively used 553.5 sick days and half the department called out sick 31 or more times in that span.
Overusing sick days drains resources and needlessly increases overtime. Large unpredictable payouts create havoc on budgets and drain funds from worthwhile services. Both scenarios are wrong and unfair to taxpayers.
That’s why I sponsor legislation, which is part of Governor Christie’s plan to reduce property taxes, to limit payouts for unused time at retirement to $15,000 and require medical documentation when public employees miss more than a week of work the year before retirement.
These rules are already in place for state workers and new public employees. My bill, A-2952, would immediately remove a grandfather provision for current workers who have been amassing unused time for many years.
Public employees argue this would take away something they’ve been promised. It does not. Workers have been promised an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, and more importantly, taxpayers have been repeatedly promised an efficient affordable government.
This proposal, part of Governor Christie’s toolkit to reform government and reduce property taxes, is a step toward finally fulfilling that promise without being unfair to public employees. It should be enacted immediately.