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NJ Watchdog: 3 Monmouth Undersheriffs Among 51 County Police Officials 'Double Dipping'

Investigation finds law enforcement officials collectively earning $3.7M a year in salary while drawing $5.4M annually in pensions

Three Monmouth County undersheriffs are among 51 county law enforcement officials in New Jersey who still receive salaries while also drawing a pension, according to a report by New Jersey Watchdog.

The investigation found that 17 sheriffs and 34 undersheriffs collectively earn $9.1 million a year "double dipping" — $3.7 million in retirement pay on top of $5.4 million in salaries — while utilizing loopholes under Gov. Chris Christie's pension reforms.

Locally, Undersheriff Robert Dawson earns $190,412 annually, with $96,432 of his compensation from his pension. Undersheriff Michael Donovan pulls in $179,699 a year; $85,932 in pension. Additionally, Undersheriff Theodore Freeman makes $151,345 annually; $59,208 in pension.

New Jersey Watchdog reports that participants in police pension plans qualify for "special" retirement after 25 years of service but often find opportunities to get back onto the public payroll, benefitting "from creative strategies, loopholes in laws and lax enforcement of rules."

“It’s not a great deal for taxpayers, and it’s something we need to fix,” state Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, told NBC 4 New York, which produced the report in concert with New Jersey Watchdog. “The pension system is to support you when you’re done working. It isn’t there for you to enrich yourself by taking on another public salary.”

Beck also has sponsored a bill that would suspend state pension payments to public retirees who return to work at salaries beyond $15,000, but it has stalled in committee, the report states. 

Essex County's Armando Fontoura makes the most among county officials while "double-dipping," the report states, earning $1.14 million in pension checks, while drawing a salary for the past 22 years.

“Does it look bad? Yes. No question about it, it looks bad. Was it legal? Yes,” Fontoura told NBC 4 New York.

Click here to read the full report.

bd October 18, 2012 at 07:22 PM
too bad the DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED legislature won't act on this---at least Sen Beck is trying---unlike the rest of the DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED legislature
Pilgrim October 18, 2012 at 07:38 PM
bd, both the Democrats and Republicans are involved. I'm sure that Democratic influence in Essex County and the Republican influence in Monmouth and Ocean Counties is keeping any potential fix locked in committee. I still would like to hear what Christie and Guadagano have to say, specifically Kim.
ray October 18, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I don't care if they are democrat or republican it does not make a difference to steal from all of us. lets stop trying to make this a partisan issue and I think you would get more people to support us going after both of these people Democrat and Republican thieves and eric B you got my vote if you run again
anonymous October 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Remember folks, double-dipping is not illegal; perhaps unethical, however, what Kim Guadagno did as sheriff was outright fraud so her friend Micheal Donovan could still collect his pension and receive a county salary. Guadagno, and current Sheriff Shaun Golden are the blame for this mess. Read the below hyperlink for more ad nauseam details: http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2011/10/10/the-golden-age-of-double-dipping-in-monmouth-county/
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