Senator Sam Thompson (R- Middlesex) announced today that he will introduce legislation at the next Senate quorum on Monday to cap the salaries of employees at local sewerage, utilities and county improvement authorities, as well as end other abusive employee perks funded by public dollars.
“This bill will put a muzzle and leash on piggish public employees who think they can fill their gaping maws with the people’s money, because no one knows who they are or what they do,” Thompson said. “Newsflash to them: more and more people are starting to realize that you make excessive incomes and are afforded outlandish perks.”
Senator Thompson pointed out just one example that has come to light as a result of Middlesex County Improvement Authority’s (MCIA) application to the state Local Finance Board for bonding approval. It has come to light via news reports that MCIA Executive Director Richard Pucci collects a $210,000 salary, plus health benefits, 5 weeks of vacation time, and a $400 per month car allowance from the Authority. Pucci is also paid $30,000 in public dollars plus a payment in lieu of health benefits as Mayor of Monroe. The total approximate value of his public compensation exceeds $250,000, and he stands to receive an annual public pension upon retirement that exceeds $150,000.
“With a public compensation package exceeding a quarter million dollars, Mr. Pucci is in line for an annual pension exceeding $150,000,” Thompson noted. “That’s more than state employees and Department heads earn for working full time. That’s flat wrong and disgusting.”
Senator Thompson’s legislation caps the salaries of employees at local sewerage, utilities and county improvement authorities at the maximum salary for State Cabinet officers, which right now is set by statute at $141,000. The bill also prohibits employees from receiving a car, an allowance toward the purchase or lease of a car and an expense account. It bans employees from receiving a public payment in lieu of health insurance if that employee receives health insurance and it prevents annual sick day payouts.
“This legislature has capped school Superintendents’ salaries, we’ve made bipartisan pension and benefits reform to cap annual pension payments so employees such as Mr. Pucci cannot collect pensions that the system cannot support,” Thompson added. “We must immediately pass this legislation to end the type of indefensible government greed that makes New Jersey one of the most frustrating places to be a taxpayer, and one of the most expensive places to raise a family and create jobs.”
Along these lines, Senator Thompson has also introduced S-2235 to prevent property tax payers from funding cars for part-time elected officials.