March 8, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Trenton, NJ – The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 29 let stand a New Jersey court’s ruling that Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t have to make scheduled payments to the state’s pension system. It refused to hear state workers’ unions’ appeal of the decision.
The unions had argued that the governor’s willful failure to pay violated their contract, while the state Supreme Court said the agreement was “unenforceable” because it interfered with the state’s right to control its finances. "At least we tried to hold the governor to his word, which means nothing," said Christopher Burgos, the president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association and the lead plaintiff in the case. “The highest court in the land has allowed lies and deceit to prevail in this case." Meanwhile, the New Jersey State Investment Council reported that state pension funds paid a record $728 million in management fees and bonuses to outside firms in the 2015 fiscal year, almost 20% of their investment income. “New Jersey’s retired public workers receive a $26,000 per year pension on average, so the only people getting rich off our pension system are the managers reaping obscene fees and bonuses,” state AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech said in a statement Mar. 2. Read more