TRENTON, NJ - The police chief in Palisades Park is retiring after a scathing review of the operation of his department, but only after he cashes more than $115,000 in checks for unused sick time.
It’s just the latest example of a long string of abuses suffered by property taxpayers in the state, according to state Sen. Kip Bateman, R-16th..
Bateman called the six-figure sick leave payout to the police chief in Palisades Park just the latest example of the ongoing abuse of NJ property taxpayers.
“Sick time was never intended to be a personal retirement account for a select group of public employees, but here we go again,” said Bateman “Another police chief retiring, and another six-figure invoice for the property taxpayers to deal with.”
Massive sick time payouts have long been a burden for taxpayers faced with nearly $2 billion liability for accrued sick pay. Often, cash-strapped towns are forced to borrow millions of dollars for retirement payouts.
“Property taxpayers have gotten the short end of the stick for too long. Public employees enjoy some of the best pension benefits in the nation,” said Bateman. “Boat checks like this are an extra perk the public cannot afford. It’s far past time to put an end to this irresponsible treatment.”
Bateman sponsors legislation prohibiting the state and local governments and school boards from paying for unused time accrued after the bill is enacted, and suspends sick time payouts for employees who are indicted of any crime.
“Under my bill, we’ll stop the problem of expensive sick leave payouts from continuing to grow,” Bateman added. “It’s a fair solution to an expensive problem.”
The mayor in Palisades moved to suspend the police chief as what he called a “shocking” 12-page report found that the department fails to uniformly apply its rules or thoroughly document internal investigations, among other failings. A discrimination lawsuit and the suspension of several officers have also racked the department.