LAMPITT: GOV SHOULD BACK ENDING SICK LEAVE "GOLDEN PARACHUTES" TODAY

(CHERRY HILL)–Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden) today called on the Governor to join with her in putting an end to six-figure sick leave payouts to public employees, pushing for reform she has long championed to protect taxpayers. Lampitt is the prime sponsor of A-3953, a reform measure that would rein in this kind of sick leave abuse.

“The Governor is taking a my-way-or-the-highway approach to ending sick leave abuse,” said Lampitt. “Unfortunately for taxpayers, the highway means they’re still on the hook for more and more expensive sick leave ‘golden parachutes.’ Each and every day the Governor chooses to play politics instead of negotiating real reform, the taxpayers lose.”

Recent news articles across the state have chronicled property taxpayers getting stuck with the bill for sick leave payouts to public employees at retirement, including $567,000 to a fire chief in Atlantic City, $376,000 to a police officer in New Brunswick, and $330,000 to one employee in Parsippany. Jersey City and Hackensack have also reportedly borrowed millions of dollars to fund similar cash-outs.

“Bashing anyone who disagrees with him may play well on Fox News and YouTube, but it does nothing to deliver the reform New Jersey needs,” said Lampitt. “As someone who has championed this issue for five years, I’m disappointed the Governor would rather give speeches than work for a bipartisan compromise to protect property taxpayers.”

Lampitt introduced A-3953 to crack down on sick leave payouts, following the Governor’s veto of A-3392, her previous legislation to reform sick leave. A-3953 represents a significant, tougher compromise. Specifically, A-3953 would:

Cap sick leave awards at $7,500 for state, county, local and school employees or the amount accrued upon the bill’s effective date
Suspend payouts for indicted employees or officials who are indicted for crimes touching their official duties and require forfeiture of payouts upon conviction–in line with the Governor’s position
Prohibit employees from using six or more consecutive sick days in the 12 months preceding retirement without a doctor’s note–enforced with strict penalties
Prohibit one local entity from employing a person on paid leave from another local entity–a new provision added by Lampitt to further strengthen the crack down on abuse.

Lampitt originally sponsored A-3392, a bipartisan-sponsored sick leave reform bill which would have brought local and school employees in line with the longstanding $15,000 cap for state employees. Despite passing the Legislature unanimously, the Governor vetoed the bill in December 2010.