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Brick's Unused Sick, Vacation Liabilities Fall to $6.7M

Most new employees retirement payouts now limited to dollar amounts, however

Brick's outstanding obligations to pay out unused sick and vacation time to employees as they retire have decreased in the past year, budget documents show.

According to the 2012 township budget, Brick's compensated absence liabilities – the technical name for unused sick and vacation time owed to employees – currently totals $6,729,539.

When the 2011 budget was approved last year, the total obligations were $7,299,391.

Those figures include only employees of the municipal government; school district employees and employees of the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority fall under different contracts.

The current liability consists of 30,656 days owed to members of the township's three unions – the Transport Workers Union, Policemen's Benevolent Association and Teamsters – as well as unclassified employees. Union members' benefits are covered under state law and labor agreements, while nonunion employees' benefits stem from a local ordinance.

Members of the PBA account for the bulk of the current liabilities – about $3.5 million – while TWU workers are owed approximately $1.7 million and Teamsters members are owed $528,155. Nonunion employees are owed $889,705.

Those numbers fluctuate depending on the year. Township officials said retirement payouts, as well as terminations or employees using – or not using – sick or vacation time can affect the amount of the liability. For 2012, $900,000 is set aside for potential payouts.

In 2010, Gov. Chris Christie signed a law limiting employee sick and vacation time retirement payouts to $15,000, according to Township Attorney Jean Cipriani.

"The sick time that was accumulated prior to the date of legislation in 2010 … would be retained by the employee and they would be entitled to cash that out," she said.

The amount of sick time that is given per year to township employees is dictated by state law. The state minimum is 15 days, and the carrying over of sick time cannot be restricted, said Business Administrator Scott Pezarras.

However, going forward, payouts will be restricted. Members of the TWU hired after 1998 are limited to $7,500 while the recent police contract caps payouts at $25,000.

"That is going to be a huge savings moving forward," Pezarras said.

However, "if you already earned that benefit, it cannot be taken away without a constitutional change," he said.

JD May 31, 2012 at 01:13 PM
It applies to teachers, supers, garbage, etc... but not police... figures... then someone is a bad negotiator...
JD May 31, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I just sent an email to Christie's office.... Others should also... 15 sick days per year is ridiculous.. increases overtime, causes overstaffing to account for people calling in sick!!, causes inefficiencies... Reduce it to 10 days!!! CAP payout to ALL employees (including police) to $15,000... Banking the sick days is fine as it is used for short term disability if needed... Sick days as is... is abused!!! Wonder how many absences on Friday or Monday!!
Not So Dumb May 31, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Use them or loose them. No carryover into the next year . Change the contracts next year that says "Use it or Loose it" no if ands or butts.
JD May 31, 2012 at 03:08 PM
They can't.... the statue says they can accumulate the days... the change needs to happen at the state level.... so email your senator, congressmen, and Christie...
Chief Wahoo May 31, 2012 at 03:18 PM
what could be better than banking sick days when you were making $25,000 a year and getting paid out 25 years later at $100,000 a year......and to think you are all afraid of a purse snatcher stealing your money !
haveaniceday May 31, 2012 at 03:31 PM
As my grandfather whould have said" they got some racket goin' on"
Mickey May 31, 2012 at 04:19 PM
you're grandstanding.....why do you refuse to address the players that allowed this to happen ?
David Fischer May 31, 2012 at 07:50 PM
As a note: Sick days are paid at a negotiated rate. They are not paid at the current salary. As an example; Teachers usually receive $30 to $45 a day for sick-day payouts regardless of their current pay. All negotiations are between the Union and your elected officials and must abide by state laws, so, you need to get the laws changed... Contact your elected officials.
David Fischer May 31, 2012 at 07:54 PM
It's a little different for teachers. They need to bank sick days as a hedge against long-term sickness or disability. Teachers are NOT eligible for state disability. This was negotiated in the 1980's as a way to save the state money (but it just pushed the debt obligation to the local towns). If you want to take the sick-day banking away from teachers then you have to bring them back into the state disability program (this would cost millions to the state but would relieve some burden on the towns budgets). All negotiations are between the Union and your elected officials and must abide by state laws, so, you need to get the laws changed... Contact your elected officials.
JD May 31, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Wrong Fischer.... They get paid out at pay rate when they retire... The max they can get is $15,000... regardless of how many days they have in the bank. Again you are wrong!!!
Seen Enough May 31, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Hey Town Council - Day 152 of the Ducey regime - how are those cost savings you promised? Did I miss your announcement?
Watchman May 31, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Dan Nee. Very informative Thank you.People ,you need to stay better informed by watching or attending town council meeting.Some guy has been bringing this up for the last two years.
JD May 31, 2012 at 10:46 PM
I knew about the liability on the budget... I didn't know about the statue... going to council isn't going to change the statue.. The Cap at retirement is a contract issue with police... But here is another one Dan.. What has been the pay out for those who retired in 2011 and 2012 (to date)... I betcha big numbers and over the numbers in your article.. because some negotiator... Acropolis... grandfathered existing employees... funny, nobody else gets grandfathered in... It would make for a great followup story.
David Fischer May 31, 2012 at 11:28 PM
I am looking at a contract right now. Teacher gets $40 per sick day regardless of their pay level. You would need 375 sick days to get $15000 (you could not take one sick day for 25-years).
David Fischer May 31, 2012 at 11:37 PM
@JD As a note, for teachers, many districts already cap sick time payout at less than $15000.
OceanCounty June 01, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Public unions have the upper hand, and have a strong voting block that the politicians pander to for the vote. In addition to the sick leave benefit, there are thousands of retirees who get free health care for life. Oh, and don't forget that they also get Medicare Part B reimbursed for life. Public employees should not have collective bargaining rights for pay and benefits; for example, the federal government unions cannot bargain for pay and benefits, why do state and local governments permit it? I'm not saying public employees should not have decent benefits, but what company out there provides retirees reimbursement for Medicare Part B? How many other companies provide comparable sick and vacation days? Taxes will continue to increase until some of these benefits are brought under control.
OceanCounty June 01, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I've been writing Christie and Sweeney; never received a reply, but at least they have made some headway on pension reforms.
GREEDYBs June 01, 2012 at 06:58 PM
what a waste, this incourages PPL to go to work sick & bank the money... Not sure why they are not like Most everyone else, " You dont use it you loss it" seems like ALOT of $$ to be paying out to People that are not even workng anymore. Need to change that Policy QUICK .... once again wasteful Govmt money being used...
Upset Union Member June 01, 2012 at 07:21 PM
There was this guy sal back in 2007 who had over 900 sick days banked; never called out once in his 30 years at the township. in beginning of 2008 before the layoffs he retired and was paid a 2 for 1 deal. So for every two days that were cashed out the township got 1 back. After this a note was posted in public works that saved sick time was not to be paid to retired people for the current year and they repeated it again the following. There was another gentleman larry who retired from DPW, this guy couldnt use his sick time like sal do to the new rules. Instead he played the game and only came to work tues,wed and thurs and called out monday and friday. When his sick time ran out, then he finally retired. The DPW gets 15 sick days, 2 weeks vacation, 4 personals and 2 floating holidays.
GREEDYBs June 01, 2012 at 07:37 PM
@Upset Union so Iam confused, I know any other job if you called out every monday & Friday you wouldnt have a job any longer, JUst another ex sample of how the unions protect people & allow people who are not deserving of jobs to keep them. " Workless get paid more" That should be the unions logo ridiculous that our town has to cut cost, lay People off & payout these days for people NOT to work... what a waste!! retirement is one thing, Paid for days your not working is another... shame on them!!!
Upset Union Member June 01, 2012 at 07:44 PM
The policy for brick is if you call out three days in a row, in the forth or fifth day you return; a doctors note is required. So if a worker has the sick time, they are allowed to use it. The only time a sick days cannot be used is when acropolis mandates you to be at work for an event, meeting and supposedly snow removal; lol! Calling out on Fridays and Monday's is perfectly legal and brick admit lets it happen too often. Admin let's it slide even more if they know an employee is retiring.
Jerseymom three June 01, 2012 at 08:02 PM
sooo its kinda like the " dont ask dont tell " policy then. typical union. alot like the teachers that are getting ready to retire That should be teaching our children put movies on & take a nap at their desk(then when the kids take a pic of it & take it to the office to show the Pncpl. the KID gets in trouble for having their cell phone out)
Reality June 02, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Greedy - You really hit the nail on the head! In the real world no employee would keep his job if he called out sick every Monday and Friday. And, Upset Union Member - Gee, how difficult is it for any public sector employee to obtain a doctor's note? There is virtually no financial burden on the employee to get a note, since they are barely financially responsible for their health insurance. Even with Governor Christie's reforms, they still have miniscule co-pays. So they continue to "play the game" and go and get their required doctor's note. And, I bet there are so many doctors who just love having these people as "patients." It's such a steady source of income.
Cosmo June 04, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Stories like this just make me want to stop reading the news. Work hard, stay out of trouble, pay your fair share and then you find out the people you trust the most are stealing from the back door of our store with little or no consequence. Someone said that a trusted official offered these huge benefits to the civil service workers, so we should blame him/her. I wonder, did that trusted official just say here take it all? or was he bribed, oh sorry, lobbied to hand over the store? This is just a disgrace and shows that there is no honor left in this state or country. Honorable people don't abuse the system we all support.
Scott Pezarras June 05, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Cosmo This provision has always been in the contracts, so it would need to be negotiated out. We have been able to to make headway moving forward, but those that have already accrued these benefits are entitled to them by NJ constitution. It is not something that can be uniltaterally taken away.
JD June 05, 2012 at 09:52 AM
You can negotiate the max payout at retirement to cops at $15,000 like the rest of NJ employees!!! You can acrue them... but there is also max you can take in a year.... but can be used for short term disabilitiy... and yes, you can CAP the payout to all employees regardless of how much they have in the "bank".
Scott Pezarras June 05, 2012 at 12:26 PM
JD I am unaware of any bill being signed into law affecting local public employees. There are several bills being considered, in particular the O'Scanlon bill which is supported by the Governor. State workers are Capped at $15000, and we have Caps in our contracts as well 7500 for TWU, $25,000 for police, but you cannot take away benefits that have already accrued. It would violate the State's constitution. What the O'Scanlon and other Bills would do is stop gap any additional accruals and set a limit for future employees. Brick has already put provisions in place for future employees.
JD June 05, 2012 at 12:31 PM
You can CAP the payout at retirement... like state employees at $15,000 for cops. That is not taking away benefits accrued... The statue speaks of accuring.... but doesnt mention CAP payout... that is negotiated! By making it law for local employees... that makes that issue non-negotiable and not sosomething you give a raise in lieu of!
Scott Pezarras June 05, 2012 at 12:45 PM
JD I have alays siad this needs to be negotiated, but the other side needs to agree. In the last round of negotiations the Twp brought the avg buyout of police time for new employees down by over 50%. That is what was negotiated.
Cosmo June 05, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Scott Thank you for your response, no doubt the provision was in the contracts and all of the legal punctuation is correct. The point I am making is that these "provisions" are not there by accident or based on some officials "goodwill". They are there intentionally and logic states that someone was compensated to put them there, or avoid putting any kind of limitations on carryforward accruals of time. Several people mentioned that it was in the contract, so why refuse it? I am saying those labor representatives "lobbied" for those limitations not to exist. So the trusted official didn't just give our money away unilaterally, they had motivation. Those individuals have no honor. Our country and states and municipalities became great because our leaders had a good moral compass that made them make decisions for the greater good. That character is now extinct.


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