Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wasser Watch

Mr. H. James Wasser is the poster boy for New Jersey's taxpayer abuse.

According to an article is the Asbury Park Press the once esteemed superintendent of the Freehold Regional High School System who was forced to retire early due to the outfall of the scandal over his diploma mill doctorate, is cashing in $132,000 in unused vacation and sick time on his way out the door.

Wasser, 60, will also receive an annual pension of $129,311.

The APP mentioned that Wasser joined the regional district 23 years ago as a substance abuse counselor. That must be when he noticed that New Jersey taxpayers were under the ether.

Wasser is not the only one with such lucrative retirement packages. Just last week we saw the former Keansburg police chief cash in a similar deal and take over the borough administrator job with a six figure salary.

As I young man I learned that a career in "public service" was a trade off between income and security. Public servants made less money than their private sector counterparts but their jobs and retirements were secure, so long as they did their jobs and did not commit crimes. It was a system that made sense.

It stopped making sense over the last 30 years as public service incomes started to exceed private sector incomes, but the security that came with those jobs and retirements remained and expanded.

The system is upside down.

Governor Christie came into office promising to turn Trenton upside down. To bring it back to fiscal sanity. He has done an extremely admirable job cutting spending on the state level and passing a 2% property tax cap through the legislature which he signed into law yesterday. Christie has had a remarkable first six months. He has become a national leader for government reform.

Lately he has been saying that Trenton is indeed upside down. That his administration has it by the ankles and is shaking.

I'm not convinced that Trenton is upside down. It is tilted, knocked off balanced, but not quite upside down. Trenton could tilt back to its inequitable equilibrium. The special interests are plotting and fighting to see that it does.

As we approach the six month mark of the Christie administration it is appropriate that we celebrate. The accomplishments of Christie's first half year in office are impressive. But they are only the start of what is needed to reform New Jersey's government on all levels.

Today's news about Wasser's booty is a reminder of how much more work needs to be done.


Anonymous said...

While I agree that the sick/vacation payouts are excessive, and that there are things that need to be reformed, some of Christie's ideas, such as the elimination of civil service, and privatization (in most cases) are only going to make things worse than they already are.

For example, just think how much more political patronage would be going on without civil service testing for law enforcement jobs and promotions. Not that it doesn't exist already, but at least the rules of the list keep it somewhat in check.

Be wary and watchful said...

very true, and there at least is a balance, now.. there are definitely too many c.c.titles, and expect to see many cut out/down, but, there are also problems with too much privatization: it's also HOW they do it: if they hand off no-bid contracts to favored private firms that are paybacks to their friends, as is with the unions and lobbyists, then where is the fairness in competition in the marketplace, and savings for the taxpayers??.. I'd suggest they take their time, and wait til Jan., 2012, after we take back the legislature- majority, before going off half-crazy with these!

Anonymous said...

Why pick on Wasser for this.
Can you blame him for negotiating the best deal he could for himself?
Can you blame him for getting a deal that is/was pretty commonplace?

Did you expect him to say. Oh no thank you that is too generous?

I know I would have taken it in his position.

the fault lies with the elected. officials who negotiated these deals not with Wasser.

I have a lot of issues with Wasser. This is not one of them.