NJ Parents and Children Protest Murphy’s Refusal To Allow Top-Tier Public Charters To ExpandFebruary 23, 2022
Murphy ‘Suggests’ New Mask Rules for SchoolsFebruary 24, 2022
Back in 2010 during the Christie Administration, the New Jersey State Legislature passed a bill that capped sick day retirement-payouts to $15,000 for public employees working under new contracts.
That’s why former Jersey City schools Superintendent Franklin Walker will begin his retirement this year with a bonus check for $200,000, courtesy of NJ taxpayers. According to nj.com, Walker, during his 48 years in Jersey City schools, had “more than 300 unused sick days” and 71.5 days of unused vacation time, which entitles him to the big payout, commonly known as a “boat check.”
Yet compared to other public employees, Walker is a piker.
Last year we reported that NJ school administrator Nicholas Sacco, who retired five years ago from his position as North Bergen School District director of elementary and secondary education, received $269,730 for 601 unused sick days. That’s more than his annual salary of $269,060. Sacco, in a feat one could call triple-dipping, also gets $49,000 a year as state senator and $40,000 a year as mayor of North Bergen.
Then there’s Frank Gargiulo, the former superintendent of the Hudson County Schools of Technology. Gargiulo, who stopped working for the county magnet district in August 2018, received a boat check of $1.1 million, payable over three years. How do we get to a million dollar pay-out? A combination of a one-year sabbatical, payouts for 411 sick and vacation days, and an annual tax-free annuity payment.
It’s not his fault: when the school board negotiated his contract pre-2010, it agreed to allow him 37 sick days a year—that’s about 8 weeks of convalescence—plus other generous benefits. Example: when Gargiulo retired, his contract required the school board to label his first year a “sabbatical” and continue to pay him his $279,494 per year salary. A 2006 report from the State Commission of Investigation cited Gargiulo as an example of “questionable and excessive practices that, collectively, cost unsuspecting New Jersey taxpayers millions of dollars.”
In 2010, in the state teacher union’s response to the proposed law capping sick-day and vacation pay-outs, then-NJEA president Barbara Keshishian mourned,
This is a devastating day for children and public education in New Jersey. On the heels of more than $1.3 billion in cuts to public education, the Legislature and the governor have put an ill-conceived and shortsighted policy in place that will prevent our public schools from ever climbing out of the hole that has been dug for them by the state.
Hyperbolic much? Just ask Jersey City’s Franklin Walker.