Boomers benefit from state?s Ponzi scheme pension system
By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
The arrest of a 49-year-old retired Ocean City police officer for alleged unlawful contact with a 16- or 17-year-old female Ocean City beach badge inspector he supervised got lots of public attention last week. But published details about his pay and early retirement pension are also very disturbing.
This officer joined the Ocean City Police Department in 1986 when he was 23 years old. I vaguely recall that rookie officers were paid less than $32,000 per year back then. The combined contributions of employer and employee to the pension fund were less than 10 percent of that ? less than $3,200 per year.
There are no bars or liquor stores, and little violent crime and hard drug trafficking in Ocean City. Most crimes seem to be petty thefts and burglaries during the off- season when most of the town is empty.
This officer did not seem to assume any advanced, specialized, or supervisory duties during the next 25 years. None of the newspapers reported him as a sergeant, lieutenant, or captain. During his last two years, the officer worked Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the school year as a ?resource officer? for Ocean City High School. His job was ?to mingle, talk to the kids, be a liaison.? He probably did regular patrol work during the summer ? the only time he was really needed as a police officer.
Comedian Woody Allen said ?Eighty percent of success in life is just showing up.? After 25 years of showing up, this officer retired at age 48 in 2011. According to DataUniverse at www.app.com, his final salary was $102,920 per year.
Our daily newspaper reported that this officer was ?an outspoken member of the local police union? who ?publicly advocated? for higher police pay in both Ocean City and Linwood.
This officer has been receiving a pension of $66,898 per year (65 percent of his final salary) since he retired. He also gets free lifetime medical benefits, which are extremely expensive, for the next 16 years until Medicare kicks in at age 65.
Right after he retired from the police department, this officer got an additional salary from the Ocean City Board of Education doing similar work as a ?supervisory aide? at Ocean City High School. At the end of the school year, he got more salary on top of his pension to be the Ocean City director of beach fee inspectors.
What was his salary? I don?t know. DataUniverse only goes to 2010. For the past nine years, LibertyAndProsperity.org urged every local government and school district to prominently list its employees and their salaries on its official website.
If people could easily get this information any time on the Internet, they would know why taxes are so high, and why so many businesses are closing down. So far, the Republicans and Democrats we elect would rather protect our public ?servants? than inform the public.
?Double dipping? is not the real problem. The real problem is that according to the official New Jersey mortality table, this officer is likely to live 32 more years to age 80. This will cost the pension funds $2,464,000 ? far more than the total salary this officer earned during the 25 years he was working.
Thousands of other police officers, firefighters, public school teachers, and other state and local government officials are getting the same deal. We only know about this officer because of the publicity caused by the criminal charges.
Joshua Rauh of the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) in Chicago predicted that the New Jersey pension funds will run out of money by 2018 ? just six years from now.
For many years, Republican and Democratic governors and legislators failed to contribute the employer?s share of pension funds. And the powerful public employee unions campaigned for most of them.
But the biggest problem is that the whole New Jersey pension system is a Ponzi scheme designed to give a handful of early ?baby boom? retirees far more than they paid in by scamming younger workers who cluelessly think they will get the same benefits when they retire.
Chris Christie Republicans and Steve Sweeney Democrats brag that they fixed the public employee pension system last year. But the arithmetic of this officer?s pension proves they are lying.
All these people will be up for election next year. The only way to get them out is to beat them in next year?s June primary elections. The time to prepare is now. Do more than vote.
(Reprinted from August 15, 2012 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/politics/28517-boomers-benefit-from-states-ponzi-scheme-pension-system.html)
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 92.1FM 8-9 a.m. Saturday. For information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email
or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton roads in Egg Harbor Township.