Gov. Christie visits county to discuss sick pay reform
Gov. Chris Christie made a surprise visit to West New York’s former St. Joseph’s High School Tuesday 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 approximately 200 people that the accumulated, unused sick pay of civil workers collected at retirement cost New Jerseyans around $825 million in taxes every year.
Christie referred to the post-retirement payouts as “boat checks,” implying that retirees count on the money to buy boats. He urged local cities to opt out of civil service, a state system that governs the hiring and firing of government workers.
Regarding proposed legislation to cap payouts at either $15,000 or $7,500, Christie stated he refused to accept anything higher than zero.
Reforms, Christie said, would save municipalities $247 million on pension costs alone in the first year. And in particular, civil service reform would allow municipalities like West New York, Union City, and Hoboken to share services and run more cost-effectively.
Christie broke it down by town: West New York is hit the hardest with $7.8 million paid out to retirees for accumulated sick pay annually, which equals out to around $869.98 per taxpayer per year. Locally, Union City ranked next highest with $1.6 million per year, which works out to around $839.91 per taxpayer per year.
North Bergen Public Library to hold holiday celebration
The North Bergen Public Library, at 8411 Bergenline Ave., is holding their annual holiday celebration Friday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m.
Live music will be performed by the North Bergen High School Chorus. Free photos with Santa will also be offered. For more information, call (201) 869-4715.
Ars Musica Chorale to perform today at Church of the Good Shepherd
The Ars Musica Chorale will perform selections from Handel’s “Messiah,” including Christmas carols and seasonal music today, Sunday, at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd at 1576 Palisade Avenue in Fort Lee.
The chorale will feature performances from Joe Conklin and John Fiorenza of the North Bergen-based Park Players, a community theater troupe.
Tickets are $25 and $20 for students and seniors. For ticket information call (201) 461-7260.