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Christie Says He Won’t Budge On Sick Leave Payouts For Public Employees

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Thursday that he and lawmakers were close to an agreement to end huge payouts to retiring public employees for unused sick days.

But the Republican governor said there was a major sticking point for him — he won’t accept a deal that allows for any payouts going forward.

“I say sick leave should not have any cash value,” Christie said.

Republicans and Democrats agree that cash-outs that can total hundreds of thousands of dollars strain local budgets. They differ on how to best fix the problem.

Christie conditionally vetoed a bill in December supported by Democrats and Republicans that would have capped the amount of accumulated sick leave employees can cash out going forward at $15,000.

Christie wants to phase out the payouts completely going forward, and he tried to reduce payments for previously accrued time by forcing current employees to reduce their accumulated bank of sick time whenever they fall ill, and he would bar new workers from collecting the perk.

However, a recent opinion by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services said there could be legal problems with forcing employees to spend from their accumulated bank.

Meanwhile, municipalities around the state face a sick time accrual liability of about $825 million. Many towns trying to save money through layoffs have found themselves borrowing money to cover the payouts once employees leave.

“That number won’t go away,” said Democrat Sen. Paul Sarlo, who along with his Assembly co-sponsor have agreed to lower the cap to $7,500 and all the other concessions Christie asked for so far.

“Sometimes to get change to happen, you can’t go from everything to zero all at once,” said Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt, D-Voorhees. She said the votes may not be there to get it passed at a zero-payout for employees who currently employees.

“The governor is just zero, zero, zero — he’s not budging off the line,” she said.

While several Republicans initially voted for the $15,000 cap, they fell in line behind the governor when he sent the bill back and criticized allowing any form of future payout.

“We’re very close,” Sarlo said. “But the ball is in his court.”

SOUND-OFF: Should Sick Days Have Any Cash Value?  Share Your Thoughts In The Comments Section…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


    Well employees aren’t stupid, they will use the sick time, and the state will have to pay time and a half to fill their positions while they are out sick. Also there will be law suits. Christie takes from the working man, I don’t know if its right or wrong but its a perk state workers got, manty times under contract. This is new age politics, it sucks and he would never get a vote from me. DON”T VOTE FOR THIS A HOLE

  • kendra

    what kind of public employees it wasn,t specified at all .

  • Vienna Joe

    “The governor is just A zero, A fat, arrogant, obnoxious zero — he’s not budging because any movement causes grunting and shortness of breath …

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