New Jersey

Double-Dipping Public Employees in South Jersey at Heart of Sheriffs Races

CORRECTION: The original version of this story reported Assemblyman Wilson is eligible for a second state pension of $8,800 a year based on his legislative service. Because of a change in state rules, Wilson and other elected officials who took office after 2007 can no longer earn a second retirement benefit while collecting a New Jersey pension. Wilson already collects a pension for being a Camden police officer.

A joint investigation by the NBC 10 Investigators and New Jersey Watchdog revealed most New Jersey Sheriffs collect two public paychecks: a pension and a public salary. New Jersey homeowners pay millions in property taxes which in part go to fund public pensions.

“It’s an oversight. It’s a loophole. It shouldn’t exist and taxpayers should be upset,” New Jersey state Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11th) said.

Beck introduced a bill to suspend public pension payments to those earning a public salary of more than $15,000. She said public employees who retire from one public job only to take another double dip into taxpayer funds leaving an already stressed public pension system in worse shape.

“It was clearly never the intention that any individual retires and then goes on to collect another publicly funded full time salary,” Beck said.

The NBC 10 Investigators and New Jersey Watchdog found the history of double dipping sheriffs will continue in Gloucester and Camden counties where all the candidates qualify for at least one pension and public salary.

In Camden County, Assemblyman Gilbert Wilson will get two checks. According to state records he will be eligible for $144,753 in sheriff’s salary, $55,383 in pension as a retired Camden city police officer.

“Anybody who’s earned a pension, no matter what their profession, they deserve to get their pension,” Wilson said in an interview with the NBC 10 Investigators.

His opponent, Lewis Hannon would collect the sheriff’s salary plus his $70,973 pension from his time as a Camden city police officer.

In Gloucester County, current sheriff Carmel Morina is already a double dipper. He earns $128,547 from the sheriff’s salary and $63,449 in pension payments.

His opponent, Joseph Micucci says he would collect the sheriff’s salary and his $64,614 public pension if elected.

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