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.
Trenton— Outraged at news that Lower Township will pay out nearly $1 million in terminal leave payments to its employees for unused sick and vacation time, Senator Joe Kyrillos (R- Monmouth/Middlesex), sponsor of legislation to end sick leave payments for public employees, called for terminal leave reform to be completed before the end of the current legislative session.
“Lower Township’s taxpayers are being forced to pay for a needless, wasteful, and unjustifiable benefit that is enjoyed in virtually no other work environment,” said Kyrillos. “While we can negotiate and compromise over the details of a final bill to fix this problem, there should be no debate about the fundamental idea that any future sick leave earned by an employee should not carry cash value. Abandoning the idea that sick leave is for when an employee is sick rather than deferred compensation would be a slap in the face to taxpayers.”
The Press of Atlantic City reports that the Lower Township Council made an emergency appropriation of $900, 000 to fund terminal leave payments for employees this year, including three employees receiving checks in excess of $100, 000. Terminal leave payments are responsible for several cents on the municipal tax rate.
“We cannot allow this to go on any longer,” said Kyrillos. “There is simply no good reason to assign cash value to sick leave that is not used by an employee. Taxpayers are being gouged for no reason other than inaction in Trenton.”