Retirements Spike in New Jersey Amid Talks of Benefit Cuts


New Jersey public employee retirements in the first seven months of 2015 jumped 10 percent compared to the same period in 2014, according to state data.

It may not be a coincidence that the spike coincides with state Gov. Chris Christie’s attempts to cut benefits to reduce pension costs to the state.


More than 13,000 public employees retired through July, compared with fewer than 12,000 in 2014, and the increase was concentrated among state workers and public safety employees, state data shows.

“Every time this governor opens his mouth and comes out with a new report or threatens a new report… he scares our guys right to the retirement line,” said Ed Donnelly, president of the New Jersey State Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association.


Through the first seven months of this year, the number of workers who have retired or notified the state of their plans to retire is up 9.6 percent from the same period in 2014. If retirements continue at that pace, which is uncertain, nearly 19,500 workers could exit — a level on par with 2011.

Workers bracing for the first wave of benefits reforms after Christie took office in 2010 left in droves. While about 12,700 people retired in 2009, more than 20,000 clocked out in 2010. The next year, when the Legislature adopted changes that raised the retirement age, required workers to contribute more for their benefits and froze cost-of-living increases, 19,500 workers left.

Specifically, Christie has backed a series of reforms proposed in February that would switch workers into a hybrid 401(k)-style plan offering fewer health benefits.


Photo By Walter Burns [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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