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By ARep | February 14th, 2014 - 3:30pm
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Muñoz Calls for Immediate Action on Sick Leave Payout Reform Following Report that Suspended Paterson Police Officer to Receive $70k Upon Retirement

Citing a report today that a Paterson police officer on paid suspension for alleged sexual assault may cash in $70,000 worth of unused leave when he retires, Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz said there is no excuse for not ending such an egregious and costly practice.

“If this isn’t a wake up call, I don’t know what is,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “This is everything that is wrong with the system. How many more outrageous examples of these kinds of ludicrous payouts do we need before lawmakers stop this unconscionable practice? For years Republicans have been demanding the elimination of these huge end-of-career payouts to public employees for their unused sick days, but Democrat leadership refuses to take action.”

According to the media report, city documents show that the Paterson officer, who was suspended with pay since 2007 for the alleged sexual assault of a prisoner, is among eight police officers and nine firefighters who will receive more than $1.65 million in accrued leave days when they retire.

“One of the reasons property taxes are so high is that towns like Paterson are stuck with a series of costly rules, such as this, that increases the cost of government. As the cost of government grows, taxpayers are paying a very high price,” stated Muñoz. “We are now a month into the new legislative session, and sick leave payout reform legislation we have sponsored has not even been scheduled for a committee hearing. Taxpayers deserve to know why.”

Muñoz, who noted that New Jersey towns are facing almost a billion dollars in liability, said sick time should be used when you’re sick.

“If you’re lucky enough to be healthy, that is reward enough,” she said. “No one in the private sector enjoys such an outrageous and expensive perk. It’s time to enact the “zero means zero plan.”

In addition to Muñoz, Assembly Republican members Caroline Casagrande, Donna Simon and Declan O’Scanlon, sponsor A-158 which would eliminate the practice of paying public employees for unused sick time.

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