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NJ Watchdog: Polhemus, Sommeling 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

Ocean County Sheriff William Polhemus and Undersheriff William Sommeling 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 New Jersey Watchdog 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, Polhemus earns $165,941 annually, with $43,272 of his compensation in pension costs. Sommeling makes $116,540 a year, with $27,540 coming from his 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, benefiting "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.

MadDad October 17, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Polhemus has got to go! He's been around too long, time for a change.
ikidunot October 17, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Double dipping is perfectly acceptable.... If you're an Ocean County official who backs Governor Christie.
mjmjr October 17, 2012 at 08:14 PM
total bullshit
mjmjr October 17, 2012 at 08:16 PM
polhemus and toms river mayor are to to to old to know what they are doing,need new blood in this town,get rid of all in office right now.
Bottom Line October 17, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Out with Polhemus! Anyone else can do a better job...and this is coming from a long-time OC Republican!
Irina October 17, 2012 at 08:48 PM
All you people who want Polhemus out.....Now convive your friends, coworkers, neighbors....anyone who will listen. Polhemus should've been outsted long ago. ARMSTRONG 2012 (yes, I'm a republican, and yes, I want change)
dave October 17, 2012 at 10:06 PM
move over rittaco, company comming,buncha thieves!!!!
bayway mike October 18, 2012 at 12:09 AM
After reading this I wanted to puke..OH CRAPPOLA I did!!
dhhex October 18, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Rofl, they did nothing wrong. Wouldn't you do that if you could? Well, there is always the issue that we hold our law enforcement to a higher standard. Really? You are surprised in a state where you pay taxes on a home assessed at $300k, when it is barely $200K. Say it isn't so. Bend over, so the State Gov can better access. Or are you pitching?
MadDad October 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Agree....Dem or Rep, 83years old....time to retire!
Martin October 18, 2012 at 11:52 AM
GRIP: Get Rid of Incompent Polhemus
Mike L October 18, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Mjmjr, where were you at the last election when the mayor and other lifers were voted in again!
Mac October 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Sheriff Bill, you need a new picture. This one has been around for almost a year now and doesn't really do much for you. Frankly, you look like the big winner of an afternoon senior citizen bingo game. I would suggest an action shot for your next photo. Try having the photographer capture you as you release the shuffleboard puck.
Dee October 18, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Go to the polls, voters, they have to go, enough is enough already. With the rash of burgularies, etc we need new, younger blood. GO!
E. Eytan October 18, 2012 at 06:46 PM
The public has a viable, eminently qualified alternative. Let's elect Bob Armstrong in November.
W. H. October 18, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Don't get it, I thought if you have a pension from a public sector job , you cannot get another job in the public sector collecting again public money.
Ben October 18, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Ely. Which is it this time out? Last 3 or 4 runs you lost at, was it for Senator? Congressman? Assemblyman? Now Ward 4, wow whats next dog catcher for you to lose at?
Manny October 18, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Look if you retire from a public sector or publicsevice job whatever that may be, and then get a job in the public sector after retirement. Then collect a public pension and a salary in the municipal sector on the public dime. Its called 'double dipping" period!
mjmjr December 15, 2012 at 05:38 PM
LAWS ARE MADE ONLY TO BE BROKEN BY THEM.

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