Category Archives: Mark Lagerkvist

NJ WATCHDOG INVESTIGATION: Senator Triple-Dipper

For Immediate Release:

NJ Lawmaker Has a Big Pension…Plus Two Public Paychecks!

MEET THE BIGGEST ‘TRIPLE-DIPPER’ IN THE NEW JERSEY STATEHOUSE: SEN. FRED MADDEN POCKETS $241,000 A YEAR IN PAY & PENSION

For New Jersey state Sen. Frederick Madden Jr., the path of public service also has been a road to personal wealth.
Madden collects more than $241,000 a year in public salaries plus retirement pay. He gets $49,000 as a legislator, a $106,983 as a police academy dean and an $85,272 annual pension as a State Police retiree.
Among the 15 legislators who draw state pensions and salaries, no one pockets more than the senator from the state’s 4th Legislative District, which includes parts of Gloucester and Camden counties.

Since he “retired” at age 48 nearly a decade ago, Madden has cashed $770,156 in New Jersey retirement checks. He will get more than $2.5 million, if he lives until age 80 — his statistical average life expectancy.

“I’ve earned that…” said Madden. “You can make it sound like I’m getting something I don’t deserve, and that’s wrong.”
For the complete New Jersey Watchdog investigative report and a list of double-dipping state lawmakers, click here – or visit www.njwatchdog.org.

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Filed under double dipping, Mark Lagerkvist, nj watchdog, press release, state pension system, triple dipping

NJ Homeland Security’s 18 Double-Dippers Nab $9M in Pensions

For immediate release:

Inside the Gov’s ‘Office of Retirement $ecurity?’

The seal reads New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness. But for agents drawing state salaries plus pension pay, it’s a symbol of their own fiscal security.

OHSP provides a bureaucratic safe haven for 18 “retired” officials who have collected nearly $9 million in state pension checks, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation revealed.

Those double-dippers currently receive more than $3 million a year – $1.3 million in state pension checks plus $1.7 million in salaries. On average, each gets $171,000 a year – $95,000 a year in salary plus $76,000 in retirement pay.

One-third of OHSP stafffers with salaries over $75,000 are double-dippers, led by Deputy Director Drew Lieb. He gets $226,000 a year – a $130,000 salary plus a $96,000 State Police pension as a retired lieutenant colonel.

New Jersey Watchdog’s analysis of state payroll and pension records for the 18 officials also found:

  • One-third “retired” from public employment for one day to start drawing state pensions.
  • Half are State Police retirees; the rest retired from other state or local law enforcement units.
  • The average age of retirement was 49.
OHSP reports directly to Gov. Chris Christie. It is a cabinet-level agency that functions primarily as a bureaucracy administering government grants and planning strategies to react to potential catastrophes

The story, along with New Jersey Watchdog’s list of “retired” officilas employed by OHSP is online at http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2012/01/16/homeland-security/.

New Jersey Watchdog – http://newjersey.watchdog.org – is a news site devoted to investigative reporting and public service journalism. Editor Mark Lagerkvist can be reached at Mark@Lagerkvist.net.

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Filed under double dipping, Gov. Chris Christie, Mark Lagerkvist, nj watchdog

Meet Gov. Christie’s Million-Dollar Triple-Dipper

Meet the Governor’s Million-Dollar Triple-Dipper

CHRISTIE’S ‘RETIRED’ BUDGET GURU POCKETS $1M IN PUBLIC PAYOUTS

One of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s key advisers has received three golden parachutes from taxpayers during the past nine years.

Cabinet Secretary Louis C. Goetting IV raked home $1.1 million from two severance payouts and an early retirement deal. In addition, Goetting collects $219,000 a year from the state – a $130,000 salary plus $89,000 in pension payments.

Christie hired Goetting (pronounced “getting”) in 2010 as a budget guru to help trim the cost of government. But Goetting resembles a problem, not a solution, according to a New Jersey Watchdog analysis of his employment history. Prior to joining Christie’s senior staff:

Goetting received $190,000 plus perks when forced to resign as executive vice president of Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County, effective June 2009.

Goetting collected $180,000 in severance pay after he resigned as a vice president at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, effective Jan. 1, 2003,

That same day, Goetting “retired” as a state employee at age 51, taking advantage of a state Early Retirement Incentive Program. From that pension, he receives 89,000 a year.

So far, Goetting has triple-dipped roughly $1.1 million from public coffers. He has collected $734,000 in early retirement checks from the state in addition to $370,000 in payouts from Brookdale and UMDNJ. And that doesn’t count his pay from the governor’s office.

Goetting’s good fortune illustrates weaknesses in Christie’s pension reforms, which the governor has called his “biggest governmental victory.” In addition, Christie has publicly opposed severance deals similar to the ones Goetting has gotten.

For the full story, click here or visit www.njwatchdog.org. New Jersey Watchdog’s Mark Lagerkvist can be contacted at Mark@Lagerkvist.net.

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Filed under Brookdale Community College, double dipping, Gov. Chris Christie, Louis C. Goetting, Mark Lagerkvist, New Jersey Watchdog, UMDNJ

NJ Watchdog: WILL VOTERS LET ASSEMBLYMAN DAVE RIBLE ESCAPE $650K DISABILITY PENSION SCANDAL IN NOV. 8 ELECTION?

NJ Watchdog reporter Mark Lagerkvist has uncovered yet another case of pension abuse by a double-dipping member of the NJ State Assembly.

This time the person in question is Republican Minority Whip Assemblyman Dave Rible, who is currently running seeking reelection in the newly formed 30th Legislative District.

After 5 years on the job as a police officer in Wall Twsp. Rible was injured and filed for early retirement with a disability pension that would pay him $55,000 a year for life with no further questions asked.
Fast forward to today and it seem that Rible, who retired due to a back injury, is healthy enough to strenuously work out at a local gym, go dancing and run 5K races in under 30 minutes.
He doesn’t seem disabled to me.

Assemblyman David P. Rible retired as a Wall Township police officer at age 31 with a bad back and a fat pension. He’s collected $650,000 in disability payments since a state board decided he was “totally and permanently disabled.”
Yet Rible competes in five-mile and five-kilometer runs along the Jersey Shore. He exercises at a gym, dances as a celebrity and hauls trash to the curb at his Monmouth County home, according to a New Jersey Watchdog investigation first published in June 2010.

Rible commutes to Trenton to represent the 11th District in the State Assembly, where he holds a leadership position as Republican Whip and seeks publicity as a tax-fighter. Now, he’s seeking election to the revamped 30th District, where he hopes voters in Monmouth and Ocean counties have forgotten the negative publicity.

In addition to his $49,000 salary as a legislator, Rible continues to receive a state disability pension that pays $55,000 a yearwithout a second look from authorities.

Now 44, Rible is set for life. If he lives until 80, he will pocket another $2.5 million from the state pension fund. That would raise Rible’s jackpot above $3 million, not including cost-of-living hikes or his medical coverage.

“I do oppose government waste, but I don’t see this as government waste,” said Rible, leaving his health club after a workout. “This is something that has been set forth in the rules of the pension.”

Those rules can be costly. Lottery-sized payouts threaten to break the back of New Jersey’s retirement and benefits system for public workers, struggling under the weight of $110 billion in projected debt. The state pension plans are short $46 billion, according to the most recent audit – plus retiree health benefits are underfunded by $64 billion.

A New Jersey Watchdog investigation of Rible’s case revealed how wasteful that system can be.

In 1988, Wall Township hired Rible as a patrolman. Five years later – on October 17, 1993 – the young officer was injured on the job. Rible later recalled the incident in his retirement application.

In his statement to the pension board, Rible said he and two other township detectives responded to an early morning noise complaint at a gravel pit. On foot, the officers pursued three men suspected of igniting fireworks and drinking alcohol. Rible stated he fell from an embankment during the chase and hurt his lower back.

Nearly four weeks later, Rible went to the police department’s physician with complaints of back pain. Eventually, in January 1998, he had back surgery.

Continue reading …… Here

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Filed under 30th Legislative District, Assemblyman David Rible, disability pension, Mark Lagerkvist, nj watchdog, Republican Minority Whip, Wall NJ