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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.

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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