WEST NEW YORK AND BEYOND -- Gov. Christie made a surprise visit to West New York's former St. Joseph's High School on Tuesday morning to appeal to residents to push for sick pay and civil service reform.
With West New York Mayor Felix Roque, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and Union City Mayor Brian Stack -- all Democrats -- in attendance, Christie informed an audience of around 200 people that the accumulated, unused sick pay of civil workers collected at retirement cost New Jerseyans around $825 million in taxes per year. This works out to an average of $250 in annual property taxes per resident.
"I always through that sick days were for when we were sick," he said, and called the post-retirement payouts "boat checks," implying that retirees count on the money to buy boats.
Christie said West New York is hit the hardest, with $7.8 million is paid out to retirees for accumulated sick pay, which equals out to around $869.98 per taxpayer per year.
Union City ranked next highest with $1.6 million per year, which works out to around $839.91 per taxpayer per year.
Hoboken pays around $1.6 million per year and $84 per taxpayer. Zimmer agreed with Christie's call to reform and said, "It's about the city employees who are working very hard, not those working the system."
For more details, read this weekend's newspapers. --Gennarose Pope