Tag: sick and vacation benefits reform

Dancer: Legislators should not be paid twice

A host of lawmakers take advantage of a state law intended to expand participation in the legislative process by allowing public employees to come to Trenton without fear of being fired or having to burn through vacation and sick days when meeting their legislative duties.

A Star-Ledger analysis found that 15 lawmakers have accrued about $850,000 worth of unused time at their public jobs back home.

Ron Dancer

Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R-Ocean) wants to change the state law and force public employees to use their days when they come to Trenton. He says lawmakers are paid a $49,000 salary for their time, and there’s no reason they should be excused from their full-time job without paying some price.

“You should not be paid twice,” said Dancer, who provided records that show he uses up his personal days from his $72,372-a-year job as an Ocean County adjuster when coming to Trenton. “If you’re here, dock yourself. That’s the right thing to do.”

For the past decade, Dancer has tried to get a hearing on a bill that would level the playing field between the public and private sector by forcing public employees to use vacation and personal days when coming to Trenton.

From: Star-Ledger. Follow-up:  Governor Christie agrees.

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Assembly Republican Press Office / 609-847-3400

March 6, 2012

Assemblywoman Donna Simon, a staunch proponent of public employee sick and vacation benefits reform, said today’s report of a Bayonne city employee using his vacation time to collect his salary while serving time for a DWI conviction is a classic example of waste and abuse of taxpayer money.

“Collecting a paycheck on the taxpayer’s dime while sitting in jail is an outrageous abuse of their hard-earned money,” stated Simon, R-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset. “Our current system screams for comprehensive reform. The taxpayers’ interest should be our priority, not doling out dollars to public workers who have broken the law.”

Simon said she will explore legislation that would specifically forbid public employees from using their current sick and/or vacation time to collect their salary while incarcerated.

The 16th District legislator is a sponsor of a bill, A-1954, that requires the suspension of payment for unused sick or vacation leave for a public employee indicted for a criminal offense and forfeiture of such payment if convicted. A DWI is not considered a criminal offense.

“It’s just like Gov. Christie said, ‘Sick time is for when you’re sick.’ Vacation time is to be used when you’re taking vacation,” explained Simon. “I hardly think anyone would call sitting in a jail cell a vacation.”

The Jersey Journal reported today that a Bayonne city employee serving a 90-day sentence for his third drunk driving conviction is using his vacation time to receive his regular paycheck while in the county jail.

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