An investigation by the New Jersey state goverment has found that numerous New Jersey towns – including Lakewood – have been paying people illegally for unused sick days, despite decade-old reforms that banned them.
Acting State Comptroller Kevin Walsh said his investigation found that some 60 towns in total violated reforms instituted in 2007 and 2010 that cap how much towns could pay employees who are retiring.
“New Jersey residents are being taxes and their funds are being used for unlawful purposes,” Walsh said. “Someone either decided to disregard the law or was asleep at the switch.”
Specifically in Lakewood, the comptroller states that the local government is allowing employees cash out their sick time when they resign or change jobs.
Walsh is now asking all towns involved in violating the reforms to give him information regarding how much money was paid out on illegal sick leave payments and a plan for how that money will be recouped.
“If they are not forthcoming with the information, we might need to step back in,” Walsh warned.
Other towns close to Lakewood have also been implicated in the investigation, including Toms River, which is accused of also allowing employees who are resigning or changing jobs to cash out their sick time, as well as giving employees annual payouts for unused sick days.
In early 2020, Toms River and Brick townships were found to be giving “dubious” payouts to employees for unused vacation, sick time, and retirement packages, according to an investigation by the New Jersey Commission of Investigation.