WAGNER URGES PASSAGE OF LAW TO REIMBURSE TAXPAYERS FOR PENSION PAYMENTS FOR CORRUPT PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

Cites Recent Conviction of Fort Lee Public Employee as Evidence of Need

Assemblywoman Connie Wagner on Friday said the recent conviction of a Fort Lee public works employee was further evidence of the need for her legislation that would provide relief to taxpayers who contributed money toward the pensions of officials who ended up being convicted of corruption.

“New Jersey communities that contributed hard-earned money to the pensions of corrupt officials deserve a break,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “Taxpayers expect honorable service, and they shouldn’t be financially penalized when they get otherwise.”

A 2007 law revokes the benefits of public officials convicted of corruption, but local governments that paid toward those benefits don’t get a refund of their contributions. The Fort Lee employee will have to forfeit his pension, but taxpayers who paid into it for years won’t get a break.

Under Wagner’s bill (A-3090), if a local government employer contributed to the pension of an official who was later convicted of corruption, the state – in the next fiscal year – would reduce the local government’s pension contribution by the amount it paid on behalf of the corrupt official.

“This bill would be a give back to citizens that have been wronged by their public officials,” Wagner said. “By allowing the local public employer to reduce their pension obligation one time in the amount contributed for the individual that will lose their pension, taxpayers would get some relief for the terrible actions of corrupt officials.”