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NJ: No matter who wins Ocean County election, taxpayers lose

By   /   October 22, 2012  /   2 Comments

By Mark Lagerkvist │New JerseyWatchdog

TOMS RIVER — No matter who wins next month’s election, the sheriff of New Jersey’s Ocean County still will be a double-dipper — and possibly a millionaire.

BIG WINNER: Polhemus gets a behemoth combo of pensions and salary.

Since 1986, Sheriff William Polhemus has pocketed $929,793 in pension pay in addition to his salary. He currently receives $165,941 a year — $122,669 in salary plus a $43,272 pension as a retired Seaside Heights police chief.

At age 84, Polhemus is the Republican nominee running for a 10th term as sheriff of thisJerseyShorecounty with 579,000 residents. If he wins, he’ll become a full-fledged, double-dipping pension millionaire.

His opponents, independent John McMenamin and Democrat George “Bob” Armstrong, also draw pensions as retired law enforcement officers.

If McMenamin wins, his take from the public trough would go up to $213,067 a year.

McMenamin receives a $90,398 a year tax-free disability pension. As a Stafford Township police lieutenant, McMenamin was injured in a 2006 on-duty accident involving an all-terrain vehicle.

While the state considers him to be “totally and permanently disabled,” McMenamin contends his disability would not impair his ability to serve as sheriff.

Armstrong gets a modest state pension of $7,836 a year from his five years of service as investigator for the State Commission of Investigations and the Division of Criminal Justice.

In addition, Armstrong receives a federal pension as a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. Federal benefits paid to pensioners are not considered public record.

OceanCountyis not alone in its double-dipping dilemma.

A New Jersey Watchdog investigation found that 17 county sheriffs and 34 undersheriffs collectively receive $9.1 million a year — $3.7 million in retirement pay plus $5.4 million in salaries — using loopholes ignored by Gov. Chris Christie’s pension reforms.

Overall, the “Double-Dippers Club” includes sheriffs and undersheriffs from 20 ofNew Jersey’s 21 counties. On average, each collects roughly $179,000 a year — $102,000 in salary and $72,000 from law enforcement pensions.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/nicolas.antonoff.1 Nicolas Antonoff

    Considering the multi-BILLION taxpayer extortion inflicted by the public employee unions (PBA and NEA chief among them) this recurrent concern for so-called double -dipping by pensioners running for and holding state and local office is laughable. Unless we want to put age restrictions on these offices and/or restrict the holders to millionaire status (no outside income of any kind) we have to live with a perfectly legal and accepted situation, as long as the holders of these offices perform well in the jobs they have been elected to. Actually, having good incomes should preclude them from attempting venal enrichment schemes (they have much more to lose if caught). Let us all get more serious about state and national debt/deficit disasters and on getting the public sector unions annual extortion schemes under taxpayer control.

  • llewellynh

    I question the need for a Sheriff given these candidates who obviously have made careers out of taking care of themselves. Restructuring Ocean County’s government could eliminate this and many other way too expensive job titles. Time to get real here and eliminate any and all double or triple dippers. I now believe no one should be able to hold more than a single civil “servant” job and it should be a full time job with no additional private work producing income for these people. That’s the way it works for most of the population so it certainly isn’t too much to ask of civil “serants” whose pay and benefits overall beat those of private enterprise by 34%.

    And are these really the very best candidates the two major parties could find? Because if so, they, too are obsolete.

    This entire line on the ballot is a bad joke.

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