Middletown Police Chief Gets $249K “Boat Check”

Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches. Photo courtesy of Middletown Patch

Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches. Photo courtesy of Middletown Patch

Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches is getting $249,338 for unused sick and vacation time accumulated over his 40 year career upon his retirement at the end of this month.  The payout is at Oches current pay scale, despite the fact that the time accumulated over a 40 year period.

The Township Committee approved the payment, reluctantly because it is required by State Law, at Monday night’s meeting.

Committeeman Tony Fiore said that most Oches’ unused time was accumulated prior to 1996 when the Township Committee passed a 150 day cap on retirement awards.

“The average American at age 55 has $155,000 in their 401K accounts, according to Fidelity Investments,” Fiore said,”Here we are forced to pay almost $100,000 more than what most Americans save over their lifetimes, in a lump sum as unused sick and vacation pay. This payout amounts to about 1/2% of the average Middletown property tax bill.”

“This isn’t anything that reflects on the chief and his 40 years of service; the money is owed and the law requires us to vote,” Mayor Stephanie Murray said. “It’s wrong because it’s accruing at present rates for time banked before many of us were born. It’s an unsustainable, broken system.”

In addition to the payout, Oches will receive a six figure annual pension for the rest of his life.

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande said it is disgraceful that taxpayers in Middletown are on the hook for nearly $250,000 for their retiring police chief in unused sick and vacation time. Casagrande, R-Monmouth, said it is well past time for the Legislature to make the elimination of unused sick pay for retiring public employees a top priority.

“This enormous payout is outrageous and an example of why homeowners’ taxes are so high and why the system needs to be changed,” says Casagrande.  “For four years, the Democrat-controlled Legislature has refused to consider legislation eliminating this perk.  Taxpayers bear the burden of over $800 million in accrued payouts. Unless the Legislature acts now, that liability will only increase for our children and grandchildren.

“The chief’s service to the community is appreciated, but a $249,000 payout puts too high of a financial burden on the town,” commented Casagrande. “This outdated benefit makes New Jersey unaffordable and part of the reason for the outward migration from our state.”

Casagrande is the primary sponsor of A-158 that prohibits payouts for unused sick time. That bill languishes in an Assembly committee awaiting action.  Casagrande introduced the identical bill in 2012 (A-2495) which also never received consideration.

“It is time for the Legislature to fulfill its promise to the taxpayer and do something to bring down property taxes. Moving this bill would be a significant step forward in that direction,” stated Casagrande.

In 2010 Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have capped such payouts at $15,000, saying they should be zero.  Legislative leaders countered with a $7.500 payout, but the legislation did not advance when Christie indicated that he would veto that as well.

Posted: July 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

23 Comments on “Middletown Police Chief Gets $249K “Boat Check””

  1. Reluctance or Not.... said at 10:51 am on July 10th, 2014:

    The Township Committee approved the payment–reluctantly; however it is required by state law.

    However Ms. Murray et al feels, their problem is not with the retiring chief–it’s with the law and probably the contract that was signed by the Committee when Mr. Oches was made chief. Bottom line: you must comply with the law and stick to what was agreed! We have too many politicians trying to undo collective bargaining agreements from the past. Remember it takes two to bargain and agree to such.

  2. Barry said at 11:30 am on July 10th, 2014:

    That veto was a real bonehead decision, and the way things stand now, there never will be a cap passed as long as Christie is Governor.

  3. Bob English said at 1:06 pm on July 10th, 2014:

    Oh for heavens sake Christie should just agree to sign the prior compromise that caps these at $7,500!!

  4. Kathy Baratta said at 1:14 pm on July 10th, 2014:

    In the private sector, when it comes to sick days it’s use ‘em or lose ‘em.

    For the life of me I can’t explain why government workers aren’t held to the same standard. Especially when they are paid by taxpayer monies.

    It makes no sense to me but it sure makes cents for them!

  5. @Kathy said at 1:26 pm on July 10th, 2014:

    Kathy, if that was the case, government workers would be receiving year-end monster bonuses like the private sector.

    Ask your son–the Howell cop–if it makes “cents.”

  6. Kathy Baratta said at 2:19 pm on July 10th, 2014:

    I never received year-end bonuses for sick days. As I said, it was use ‘em or lose ‘em. There was no payout.

    As to your bringing up my son -why? I am the one commenting here, not him. Grow up.

  7. Lenny Inzerillo said at 5:31 pm on July 10th, 2014:

    Hey Casagrande

    I agree the legislators should make good on promises to lower taxes. I guess you would also agree that Christie should make good on an agreement NOT A PROMISE. voted on and passed to make the required pension payment. Now he says the he with it I am not paying. And I don’t believe you Trenton people should get invved in our NEGOTATED CONTRACT items

  8. Proud Republican said at 6:05 pm on July 10th, 2014:

    Once again folks, we are reminded of the glorious results of union strongarm tactics. In what other planet are you allowed to accrue sick days over several decades and get paid for them because you were lucky enough not to get sick. In the real world you get five sick days and they are use them or lose them.
    The unions and their Democrat lapdogs are strangling the NJ taxpayers and their answer to the problems they create is always the same – raise taxes. That blockhead Steve Sweeney actually had the nerve to say “we don’t have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem.”. Got that everyone? The Democrats say it’s your fault for not paying enough taxes.

  9. Middletowner said at 9:37 pm on July 10th, 2014:

    In the real world you don’t even carry over vacation days. Some companies would still let you carry over a few days for a year

  10. Lincrofter said at 7:21 am on July 11th, 2014:

    Hey Lenny,

    Maybe if Sweeney, Oliver and those other goons you support would stop pissing away money in those rat holes like Newark, Patterson and Camden, there would be money to make the pension contribution!

    I bet if Christie tried to cut a billion dollars from these urban leaches and used the money for the pension, the Dems would not have voted for the budget. We agree on one thing: the payment should have been made.

  11. Make them stay in NJ said at 11:35 am on July 11th, 2014:

    On top of not paying these types of payouts at all, NJ law should be amended so that any state government paid benefits are paid in full only while the recipient is maintaining a primary residence in NJ and paying NJ property taxes. Anyone with a primary residence out of state and not actively filing and paying NJ property and income taxes should receive a significantly reduced percentage of their benefit payments. If nothing else, this at least keeps the money from obscene payouts within the local economy.

  12. @Make them stay in NJ said at 3:30 pm on July 11th, 2014:

    Give me a freakin break!! What are NJ government workers second class citizens?? They don’t have the right to move to warmer, and cheaper (as in tax rate) climates like Florida just like everyone else?

    Your comment is asinine!

  13. If they move out of state then, yes said at 5:18 pm on July 11th, 2014:

    If they move out of NJ, then yes, indeed, they are a second class of citizen; non-residents.

    The same concept suggested is often applied in the education industry.,For example, at most public universities nationwide, in-state tuition cost is $X and out of state tuition cost is $X+some very additional amount where its cost prohibitive to attend out of state college. To get a “discount” on education, people change their primary residents to another state which requires them to then pay sales, income and property taxes locally along with all of the other licensing fees such as driver’s license and motor vehicle fees.

    States offer the discount incentive on education because you’re already paying taxes and fees in-state and some of that tax money often goes to public universities. If you go to college out of state, then your home state loses out on income from your fees and taxes and has less it can spend on it’s education infrastructure.

    In the same sense, a program that helps keep former state workers around means keeping people around who have local knowledge and are local experts. Paying them more to keep them here also gives state workers and their representatives additional reason to do their part to keep the state affordable and provide services of the highest quality.

    In the long run, NJ would be more affordable (“cheaper” in your words) if money paid to the state by taxpayers was not being truck-loaded out of state by retirees but instead, re-invested back into the state.

  14. Ted said at 1:59 pm on July 12th, 2014:

    In high school in the 80s, A nightmare scenario was to take the civil servants test and work for the gubment.

    If my parents were only Democrats, they’d have taught me how to game the system rather than create and produce. Oh well.

  15. TonytheHood said at 3:04 pm on July 12th, 2014:

    Yeah…don’t honor Union contracts and past LEGAL bargaining agreements….

    There’s less money for you REPUGS to STEAL from the coffers, then. If hard working, honest, union employees get to keep what they’ve earned.

    The poster above is right. The private sector gets plenty of Government handouts and corporate “entitlements” already, at the expense of the public. What does the public sector worker get….NOT much, and probably not a pension that he’s paid into his whole life because you Repukes and Fat Christie are looking to steal that too, as you give more tax handouts to the idle rich….

    You are nothing but jealous, greedy fools..

  16. Private Tony said at 5:32 pm on July 12th, 2014:

    Tony, suppose you worked in the private sector. By a vote of your Customers, who feel they pay too much for your product, you lost your job and next Friday is your last day. In the interim one of your subordinates comes to you asking for a raise; in poor faith you agree and sign a deal to pay the subordinate $1,000,000 year to perform the same job they were just making $50,000yr to perform; HR notes your title and authority and starts paying.

    New boss comes next Monday and sees the wrong you have created by not negotiating in good faith and notes that continued inaction will bankrupt the company. Should new boss have to honor your ill-advised agreement, or should new boss fire the subordinate for being part of the problem and hire new people with a new agreement that has the customers who voted you out of a job best interests in mind?

  17. Proud Republican said at 7:18 pm on July 12th, 2014:

    @tonythehood – have to laugh every time I hear one of the socialist, liberal democrats go into their “i hate the rich” routine. Only a twisted liberal can say not raising the already high top tax rate as a “tax break.”. A little economics lesson for you. The top tax rate in NJ is almost 9%. The top tax rate in neighboring Pennsylvania is 3.5%. So what do the brilliant Democrats want to do? Raise it even higher. Another idiotic comparison. Tax incentives for businsesses being called corporate welfare. Corporations pay taxes, create jobs and produce goods or provide services that people want or need. Everyone benefits. People on welfare are leeches who provide nothing to society and drain the life out of the working people. Democrats are enslaving people on welfare the way crack dealers hook their users. And unions? Their greed has destroyed Detroit, Sacramento and is hellbent on destroying NJ.

  18. @Tonythehood said at 10:52 pm on July 12th, 2014:

    Why should those “hard working, honest, union employees” keep what they earned?
    What about paying their fair share?? When will their greed end and decide they make too much and should spread some of their money around?
    Is it fair for them to make more than others? Shouldn’t they just redistribute back to society their obscene income?

  19. @Proud Republican said at 7:50 am on July 13th, 2014:

    What a ass you are.

  20. jrsmith said at 9:07 am on July 13th, 2014:

    @ Proud -You are what the Republican party stands for thank god you keep talking.And with the likes of you the Democrats will win.

  21. nsswalsh@aol.com said at 9:54 am on July 13th, 2014:

    What ever happened to representing the people is what bothers me most of all!!! Both political parties know the system is not sustainable and yet to keep or get more votes they have sunk their feet in quicksand and have become less and less flexible on possible solutions!!

    Please do not tell me that some ideas on both sides have some merit that could be used in a possible solution. Put 10 reasonable people in a room and things could change before the inevitable that we all know will occur. Economic collapse in the country we all supposedly “LOVE!!

    2 little examples in my mind would be taxing trusts and stop making it more profitable to not work than to work!! Sound reasonable, I think most would agree they are. Simple but changes to either of those idealogies will affect negatively voter bases and donors!!

    Today in the APP is a tough article about Asbury schools that shows a failed system for the children and families that costs 3 times the average of most school districts.The back and forth posturing can’t even solve that small part of the major problem affecting all!! Economic waste and in the end insolvency.I believe we are within 5 years of a major financial awakening for all. I am preparing my children with education and guidance to the best of my ability. My youngest is autistic and I have little faith in government taking care of him his whole life. Washington has proven along with Trenton that taking care of the people is not their top priority. Taking care of their own and getting reelected are

    Just one mans opinion who is getting frustrated again. I think this happened about 10 years ago in Howell!! DEJA VU!!

  22. Proud Republican said at 12:35 pm on July 13th, 2014:

    “what a ass you are.”. Nothing like being put in my place with horrendous grammar. Posters like this make me laugh. Rather than refute a statement using facts or a sound ideological position, they take time out of their day to make an empty, childish one-liner like that and really think they scored a direct hit. You see folks, that’s how you beat liberal socialists – keep the argument factual and articulate and let the leftists respond in their usual weak, petty and non-substantive way.

  23. @NSSWalsh said at 3:22 pm on July 13th, 2014:

    You are so correct about the fiscal and educational disaster in Asbury Park. I like to know where the legislative team that represents this town in Trenton is?? Very disturbingly quiet. Usually Jennifer Beck articulates her “outrage” during these matters–but I guess it won’t give her the publicity she craves.

    You have taxpayers that are going to suffer–statewide–but more important, you have children suffering.