Friday, October 24, 2014

After lawsuit threat, State releases list of 228 local units who may have allowed improper pension enrollees.

In July 2012, the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) published a report (on-line here) on towns and school districts that appeared to have been improperly keeping their appointed professionals enrolled in the PERS state pension system despite a 2008 law that required those professionals to be removed from the system.  According to page 7 of its report, the OSC
first obtained data concerning . . . professionals who are providing services to municipalities and school districts (collectively referred to in this report as “local units”) [and] then cross-referenced the names of those professionals with PERS data and developed a list of 332 PERS-enrolled professionals providing such services [that] were retained by 228 different local units.
I then submitted an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for the lists of the 228 local units and 332 PERS-enrolled professionals and was denied because disclosure would allegedly violate the professionals' "reasonable expectation of privacy."    More information on my OPRA request and the State's denial is on-line here.

Today, after receiving a lawsuit threat from my lawyer, Richard M. Gutman of Montclair, OSC Records Custodian Robert Shane decided to disclose the list of 228 local units while still suppressing the list of 332 PERS-enrolled professionals.  The list of local units is on-line here.

The list does not identify the county in which each local unit is located.  This makes it impossible to determine whether the "Fairfield" on the list refers to the municipality in Essex or the one in Cumberland County.   And, the presence of a town on this list does not automatically equate to a violation of the PERS or the public trust.  Please consider this list merely as a source of information to aid future research.

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