FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Puglisi
March 18, 2010 973-621-2542
ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO URGES NJ STATE ASSEMBLY
TO ADOPT PENSION REFORM BILLS
Local Government and School Boards Need Legislation to Help Control Rising Pension and Health
Measures Would Help Essex County Save About $3.2 Million
Newark, NJ – On Thursday, March 18th , Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. urged the NJ
Assembly to approve a series of pension and health insurance reform bills when they are introduced on the
Assembly floor on Monday. The Executive noted the reforms would help control rising pension and health care
costs being felt by municipal, county and state governments and school districts.
“After the Governor’s Budget Address on Tuesday, it is clear that the way government on all levels operates in
New Jersey has to change. C learly we are facing difficult economic times and the reform legislation adopted by
the Senate last month is the first step to control rising costs,” DiVincenzo said. “I urge the Assembly to approve
these four bills. The difficult economic times dictate that these changes be made. This legislation must be
approved to prevent our government from going bankrupt,” he added.
“The Governor sent a clear message on Tuesday that the State is facing an $11 billion budget shortfall and no
longer has the money to continue conducting business as usual. The deep cuts the Governor is proposing will
impact all our budgets and the passage of these four bills are a good first step to help counties, municipalities
and school districts reduce costs,” the Executive said. If the Assembly adopts the pension reform measures on
Monday, March 22nd, DiVincenzo noted Essex County could save about $3.2 million, Essex County College
could save about $400,000 and the Essex County Vocational Technical School District could save about
$400,000. The only amendment he recommended was for the legislation to go into effect immediately after it is
signed by the Governor so local government and school districts can maximize savings for this year.
Earlier this year, DiVincenzo introduced a 2010 budget that did not include layoffs, employee furloughs or
reduction of service. Changes in the budget will have to be made since the Governor’s address on Tuesday,
March 16th . The Executive and his budget team are projecting that Essex County will lose at least $25 million in
State aid, with the hardest hit areas being the Department of Corrections, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and
the Department of Citizen Services. Essex County College will see a reduction of about $1.2 million in State aid
and the Essex County Vocational Technical School District will see a $2 million reduction in State aid. More
reductions in State aid could be forthcoming as the State budget becomes more clear.
After the Governor’s budget address on Tuesday, DiVincenzo called an emergency meeting with his cabinet
members and Constitutional Officers to begin reworking the County budget. He called on each director to re-
examine their budgets, staffing levels and programs and develop a plan to reduce spending.
The Senate adopted the pension reform bills in February. They include the following:
S-2: Makes various pension system changes concerning eligibility, retirement allowance formula,
compensation definition, position eligible for service credit, non-forfeitable rights, enrollment waiver,
prosecutors part, PFRS special retirement, employer contributions.
S-3: Makes various changes to SHBP and SEHBP concerning eligibility, cost sharing, plan choice, benefit
change application, coverage waiver, multiple coverage ; requires contributions toward health care benefits by
public employees and certain retirees.
S-4: Makes various changes concerning payments to public employees for unused sick leave, sick leave
injury in State service, and PERS and TPAF disability retirement.
SCR-1: Amends State Constitution to require annual contributions by the State and its political subdivisions
to State-administered retirement systems.