New Jersey Governor Puts Up Show With Sick-Time Payouts Issue

Gov. Christie pushes to end payouts for public employees’ unused sick days |

Of course limiting sick-time payouts makes sense. The State of New Jersey already has a limit already agreed upon. I believe it is 2 weeks max. Setting limits on payouts has always been possible through contract negotiations, or if there is no union, by council (towns), commissioners (independent authorities), or freeholders (counties) resolution. Where there are no limits, it is often because the politicos benefit the most.

Now, from the view point of the sums of money involved, limiting political patronage is much more significant because a political hack will make every year much more than what the average  retiring worker will take in sick-time payout just once in-a-lifetime.

Why is the governor not addressing political patronage or nepotism?

Obviously, Christie would not touch the latter with a ten-foot pole because those are the perks of the political caste in power; he is part of it. I mean: Christie making a real effort to correct the eternal abuses in public employment in New Jersey at the expense of the taxpayers; it is not going to happen. The governor is very apt to put up a theatre show and take down a couple of fall-guys as he did in the Passaic Valley Sewage Authority. But he will not – ever- attempt to fix the system in a comprehensive manner.

To do so, Civil Service Law of New Jersey must be strengthened. Christie is proposing the opposite.

This is what occurs when there are political appointees in a government unit:

You can bet the family farm that many or most of these positions are political patronage appointments.

I propose to strengthen Civil Service Law in New Jersey and also reforming the section of the statute that covers the sick time allowance. From my experience as union president, I do believe that leaving the current allowance of 15 days will lead to absenteeism if the payouts are ended. Sick time issues were always a pain during my tenure as union president, because it was a gray area.  Therefore the best approach, in my opinion, is to change to a system of occurrences which would be much lower that 15 but would also cover a serious illness event that could keep the employee off work until short term disability kicks in. Nonetheless, a fair system requires some more fine-tuning.

Once a system of occurrences is the law, there would be no payouts at all except for those current employees who have accumulated time already.