New Jersey Sheriff Race Turns Into Campaign Against “Double Dipping”

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One candidate for a New Jersey sheriff position is promising to relinquish his state pension if he wins, and in the process is turning against the common practice of sheriff “double dipping” – that is, the practice of drawing a state pension while also being employed at another public-sector job.

The candidate, David Jones, is running under the campaign slogan “One Sheriff, One Paycheck”. More from New Jersey Spotlight:

17 of the state’s 21 county sheriffs double dip by collecting public pensions averaging $78,000 on top of their sheriff’s salaries, jacking up their average compensation to almost $204,000. That’s almost $29,000 more than Chris Christie earns as governor.

But now, David Jones, a recently retired state police major, is trying to turn his campaign for Mercer County sheriff into a referendum on double dipping by pledging to suspend his own pension if he is elected sheriff and to refuse to employ any undersheriffs who do not agree to do the same.

Running on the slogan “One Sheriff, One Paycheck,” Jones said his victory would not only save $300,000 a year in pension payments now going to Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler and two of his top deputies, but could inspire voters in other counties to take a stand on double dipping by refusing to vote for anyone who does not take a similar pledge.

Double-dipping is well known, but efforts to discontinue the practice haven’t gone anywhere. From NJ Spotlight:

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) and Assemblywoman Allison Littell McHose (R-Sussex) to require retired public employees who take public jobs paying more than $15,000 to forgo collecting their pensions until they leave public service has gone nowhere.

That’s because Christie and legislative leaders have been reluctant to put an end to a practice that benefits loyalists in both parties. They include Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, a Democrat who filed his retirement papers when elected to his existing job. He now collects a $68,861 pension for a job he currently holds while continuing to be paid his full $153,831 salary. Louis Goetting, a Republican, collects an $88,860 annual pension from his years in the Treasury Department on top of his $140,000 salary as Christie’s deputy chief of staff.

William Schluter, a long-time Republican lawmaker, said outlawing double-dipping could save the state tens of millions of dollars on an annual basis.

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  1. […] has been an issue in New York and New Jersey as recently as last […]

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