Cardinale Calls for Taxpayer Protections in Wake of $2 Million Paterson Police Officer Pension Abuse Scandal
In the wake of a Paterson legal case that will cost taxpayers $2 million, Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Passaic, Bergen) today renewed his call for swift passage of taxpayer-protections to end pension abuses and million-dollar payouts.
“It is unconscionable that Paterson, a city that receives $430 million in state aid every year, would waste millions of taxpayer dollars to keep a police officer accused of such a heinous crime on the payroll,” Senator Cardinale said. “Now Manuel Avila will be eligible for lifetime Cadillac health benefits and thousands of dollars in extra pension payments – all on the backs of hardworking taxpayers.”
Manuela Avila, a suspended Paterson Police Officer who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in custody, collected $900,000 in pay during the nine years he was suspended, according to recent reports. Despite accusations of wrongdoing, city officials allowed Avila to remain on the job long enough to be eligible for lifetime health benefits and extra annual pension payments.
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11), Senator Michael Doherty (R-23), and Senator Gerry Cardinale (R-39) were joined by anti-tax advocates today in releasing a statement reiterating their opposition to a billion dollar gas tax increase. The General Assembly approved a 23-cent gas tax hike last evening, with a half-cent sales tax reduction starting January 1, 2017 and another half-cent reduction on January 1, 2018.
“I have heard the residents of New Jersey loud and clear and I remain steadfast in my opposition to a billion dollar, 23 cents per gallon increase in our gas tax,” said Senator Beck. “New Jersey residents see right through the fiscal shell game that is being played. Literally in three days, this Friday, July 1st, all 7 million New Jersey drivers will be faced with a billion dollar tax increase that will be imposed every time they take a trip to the beach, commute to work, or bring their kids to school. Without question, lowering the sales tax a penny over two years will not stop Democrats from raising it again as they have done before.”
Senator Gerarld Cardinale (R-Bergen, Passaic) expressed his strong opposition to the Democratic proposal to block Gov. Chris Christie’s common-sense changes to New Jersey’s gun laws, calling the resolution a misguided measure that would put countless New Jerseyans at risk of serious harm.
“National statistics show that when a state chooses to become a ‘shall issue’ state, violent crime goes down,” Senator Cardinale said. “Blocking the Governor’s proposed regulations will discourage victims facing serious threats from applying for the permits they desperately need while allowing criminals to continue operating knowing that their victims won’t be able to defend themselves.”
Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen, Passaic) issued the following statement on carry permit legislation today:
“The introduction of S-1982 created a public ground swell of overwhelming support for extending a similar ‘right to carry’ opportunity well beyond judges and legislators. I have introduced such proposals in the past (such as the ‘Citizens’ Protection Act.’) There was never enough critical mass of public support to move my legislative colleagues to address the issue.
In response to some of the concerns that arose following the announcement of legislation introduced last week to allow judges and legislators to obtain handgun carry permits, Senator Gerald Cardinale (R- Bergen, Passaic) offered the following statement:
“My current introduction of a very modest modification of the case law definition of ‘Justifiable Need’ has already revealed the anti-gun lobby as opposing the basic human right of self-defense. There is no realistic probability that judges or legislators will misuse guns, but opposition by Miller and other anti-gun activists to my proposal is quite revealing.
New Legislation would allow New Jersey judges and legislators to obtain permits to carry handguns, provided they receive firearms training
Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen, Passaic) introduced a bill that would allow legislators, as well as judges at the superior and municipal court levels, to obtain permits to carry handguns provided they complete at least eight hours of firearm safety training.
“Judges and legislators face a greater risk of falling victim to violent attacks, simply because of their easily identifiable position in public life,” Senator Cardinale said. “This measure will ensure that public servants have the means to protect themselves from those who might violently disagree with their viewpoints or decisions. A judge should feel safe returning home each night no matter how they ruled or what they ruled on that day.”
Cardinale: Introduces Trio of Taxpayer-Protection & Good Govt Reforms in Response to Paterson Abuses
In the aftermath of recently reported taxpayer abuses in Paterson, Senate Republican Gerald Cardinale introduced a trio of new taxpayer-protection and good government bills to accompany his bipartisan reform to end six-figure sick-leave payouts for public employees.
Paterson — in the midst of municipal and school budget crises — just gave its police chief a big annual salary raise to $210,631, redoing his contract with just a few weeks left, when he must retire within a year. This deal gives a package of retroactive raises, including a 12-percent pay increase dating to 2012 and four 2-percent hikes. It pads his pension and $150,000 payout for unused sick and vacation days.
“Local governments, especially those in such financial chaos should not be abusing taxpayer dollars to benefit a select few,” said Cardinale (R-Bergen). “Paterson’s backroom decision is a maltreatment of local taxpayers, as well as state taxpayers who annual send about $25 million in aid to this cash-strapped city. I hope the state Department of Community Affairs will ultimately reject this particular chief’s new contract, but the time for reform is now to preserve the public trust in every town and city.”
Ranking Republican Judiciary Committeeman Gerald Cardinale urged Senate Democrat Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari to regain control of that committee and schedule a state Supreme Court confirmation hearing for brilliantly qualified David Bauman.
“Chairman Scutari and I have a long history together serving the public on this committee, and I consider him a friend. I know he’s smart enough to understand that there is no constitutional basis to deny David Bauman’s nomination. He knows there’s no language in the constitution about Supreme Court political balance or anything to do with the partisan makeup of the High Court or any constitutional requirement about political affiliations of Supreme Court justices.
“I get that he’s trying to be loyal to his fellow Democrat politician, the Senate President, but I urge him to shift his loyalty to the 8.9 million New Jerseyans who are being denied justice, property tax relief, proper affordable housing and healthcare resolutions due to the lack of a full state Supreme Court.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Gerald Cardinale and Senator Anthony Bucco to offer greater aid to members of the National Guard and Armed Services who are balancing military service and higher education was advanced by the Senate Higher Education Committee.
“This legislation offers invaluable, duly-deserved support for the members of the military who risk their lives to protect the liberties and freedoms we hold dear,” Senator Cardinale said. “Our pledge to support the troops must extend beyond the battlefield. We can honor this promise by ensuring all of these heroes have the basic support they need to complete their college degree – an essential tool that will help them thrive here in the state they call home.”
Senate Republican Gerald Cardinale is renewing his call for sick-leave, pension and public employment reforms in light of recent reported taxpayer abuses in Paterson.
Paterson’s governing body just gave its police chief a big salary raise to $210,631, redoing his contract that expires in a couple weeks. This allows him to collect a bigger pension, a bigger, $150,000 payout for unused sick and vacation days. The governing body also gave the chief, who must retire within a year, a 12 percent pay increase dating to 2012 and a series of four 2 percent hikes after that.
“This pension- and boat-check padding maneuver is an abhorrent abuse of taxpayers in Paterson, as well as state taxpayers, who annually send about $25 million in aid to this cash-strapped city,” Cardinale said. “This is the kind of billion-dollar deal struck in a smoke-filled backroom in the dark of night that destroys the public trust.”