Speaking of salaries, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on an investigation from New Jersey Watchdog that found that an obscure unit of the NJ Department of Education called Unit “Q” employs 40 “double-dipping” staff members, who collect pensions as well as paychecks. For example, Cathy Coyle, who collects an annual pension of $73,765 from the State, also takes home $151,862 for her DOE job as a “special services” employee in Unit Q.
From the Inquirer:
• Two-thirds of NJDOE’S top 60 Unit Q special services workers collect state pensions.
• Those 40 employees collected roughly $5.9 million last year – nearly $2.9 million in state pay plus almost $3 million from retirement checks.
• Thirty-eight of the double-dippers have six-figure incomes. Five receive more than $200,000 a year.
Most of them seem to work as either County Superintendents (irony alert: they control merit bonuses for district superintendents; see post below this) or Regional Achievement Center Executive Directors, who oversee NJ’s most troubled districts.
The Inquirer also notes that among the 40 employees noted, 28 collect pensions from the insolvent Teachers’ Pensions and Annuity Fund. This Fund “has an unfunded liability of $23 billion, according to state Treasury’s latest figures. That represents nearly half of the shortfall for all state pension funds, now totaling $51 billion.”
For today’s update on Gov. Christie’s retroactive pension payment cut, see Mark Magyar at NJ Spotlight. Also see this article by Chad Alderman at RealClearEducation.on Christie’s and Maryland Governor Mark O’Malley’s pension contribution strategies.