The newly signed Brigantine Police Contract raises some serious questions about it’s ability to save taxpayer dollars. The agreement also seems to be in conflict with state law.
The Brigantine Taxpayers Association questioned City Manager Stinson at the Sept 16 council meeting.
With the recommendation of the presiding Deputy Mayor (Councilman Andy Simpson) the questions were sent to the City manager for his reply. Anne H. Phillips of the Brigantine Taxpayers Assoc. is still waiting to hear from Mr. Stinson.
While some steps have been taken to reduce the cost of NEW hires, the costs for veteran employees of the Brigantine PD have skyrocketed.
When you dig deeper into the new Brig PD contract, the picture isn’t so rosy. One might say that a false impression has been given of the extent of the virtues of the contract to taxpayers, and that its likely troublesome and costly consequences down the road have gone un-acknowledged.
- The public knew nothing of this contract until the meeting at which it was approved 3 to 2. That is deplorable and contrary to the public’s right to know what it’s paying for.
- Brigantine Police Department base salary now includes holiday pay, education stipends and longevity. These amounts unlawfully increase amount eligible for a pension, thus increasing tax burden on Brigantine residents for many decades in the future. This activity is not legal according to the NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits. SEE HERE and below.
- Longevity is not frozen as is falsely proclaimed. Taxpayers still pay it for existing employees. New hires don’t get it but it continues to accumulate by a fixed amount based on years of employment instead of a percentage. Job performance has no bearing on longevity payment – only time in the job. According to the 2014 Brigantine salary list, taxpayers paid almost $400,000 in annual longevity payments.
- Sick leave continues to accumulate, unlike the private sector. Existing employees hired prior to May 2010 (state law) will be capped at the greater of $50,000 or dollar value of accrued sick time – an employee will be paid at least $50,000. Employees hired on or after May 2010 shall have their terminal leave payment capped at $15,000. Crazy.
- There are 12 paid holidays. Does the private sector do that in these tough times? No.
- Terminal leave (accrued sick days) paid at employee’s annual rate of pay at beginning of terminal leave period. (their highest pay)
- Stinson avoided use of mandated arbitration. This tool should have been used, by law.
- Mayor Guenther and City Manager Stinson boast of hypothetical cost savings of $245,000 per new employee over 15 years.
- Coming soon is the “Cadillac Tax” part of Obamacare. This will increased the employee cost to the City and taxpayers. Yes…you will pay more to give Brigantine public employees the best health care packages….while you scrape by eating Raman noodles.
- What is true cost to taxpayers for Public Employee health benefits and pension contributions? Those numbers are never share with public, but have budget breaking impact on local taxpayers. Brigantine pays many employees a total compensation package worth $200,000 annually. It’s unknown if Brigantine employees’ contributions to their health plan have increased, much like those of us in the private sector.
Brigantine is one of the few remaining South Jersey towns that have not adapted to the reality of today’s economy. Two main causes for this: 70% of taxpayers can’t vote..and there is no real opposition to the 25 year rule of Mayor Guenther’s Green Head Politics. Even political opponents like Councilpersons McClay & Piccardi vote with Team Guenther….instead of putting real pressure on the borderline criminal activity that poses as Brigantine City government.
It’s painfully obvious. Brigantine taxpayers, especially part-time residents have NO representation inside City Hall.
Contract negotiations with the Brigantine Fire Department is still ongoing. Their big n beefy contract expired back on DEC 31, 2013.
Brig FD union head Tiger Platt will likely steamroll Stinson & local taxpayers with ease. Platt, from Absecon, NJ. has worked hard to keep his 2 day work week and close to $200k comp package safe & secure.
Platt is well known for his un-ethical use of Social Media. His online harassment of former Public Safety Director; Dan Howard, was quite effective at keeping Howard’s prying eyes away from overtime abuse and in-efficient FD practices. SEE TIGER PLATT VIDEO HERE >
Look for Platt to make the police union contract look cheap by comparison .
NJ Administrative Code 17:4-4.1
THE NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF PENSIONS AND BENEFITS
Creditable Compensation Police and Firemen’s Retirement System
Employees and employers both contribute to the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) through-out all employees’ careers. These contributions, and the return on their investment, are intended to and normally do provide sufficient funds by the time of retirement to pay lifetime retirement benefits to employees and surviving spouses, civil union partners, or eligible domestic partners.
Over the past several years, however, some employers and unions have negotiated contracts that restructured employees’ pay to substantially increase pensionable salary close to the time they are eligible to retire. When this happens, only a minimal amount of pension contributions are remitted on the improperly increased salaries and insufficient time is available for investment of these contributions before retirement. As a result, the reserves required to pay the increased lifetime retirement benefit are not sufficient and all participating employers are required to make additional employer contributions to compensate for the shortage.
In 2000, the PFRS Board of Trustees approved a revision to the Administrative Code, N.J . 17:4-4.1, to .A.C clarify the definition of creditable compensation, i.e., compensation subject to pension deductions and used .A.C 17:4-4.1 states that “…the compensation of a member subject to to calculate retirement benefits. N.J . pension contributions and creditable for retirement and death benefits in the system shall be limited to base salary, and shall not include extra compensation.”
Some of the items identified as extra compensation are as follows:
• Pay for extra work, duty or service beyond the normal work day or normal duty assignments
• Lump-sum payments for longevity, holiday pay, vacation, compensatory time, sick leave, etc.
• Any compensation which the employee or employer has the option of including in base salary
• Sell-backs, trade-ins, waivers or voluntary returns of accumulated sick leave, holiday pay, vacation, over- time, compensatory time, or any other payment or benefit in return for an increase in base salary
• Any form of compensation that is not included in the base salary of all employees in the same position or covered by the same collective bargaining agreement
• Retroactive increments or adjustments made at or near the end of a member’s service, unless the adjustment was made for all similarly situated personnel as a result of an across-the-board adjustment
• Any form of compensation that is not included in a member’s base salary during some of the member’s service and is included in the member’s base salary upon attainment of a specified number of years of service
• Clothing allowances