Is Christie wrong to call police officer a "pension pig"?
We believe he is.
New Jersey Police Benevolent Association (NJ-PBA) President Patrick Colligan is a 24-year veteran of the Franklin Township Police Department. He earns an annual salary of $121,000 and would receive a yearly pension of $78,650 if he retired next year. That's according to the Gannett news organization's data universe and the state's pension calculator.
Let's be clear. Pat Colligan is not a double-dipper. He earns a salary that was negotiated at the bargaining table. In return for that salary, he straps a gun on and (in his words) "was on duty today in New Jersey and, like most days, I was wearing a badge and a gun.’’
Back when Pat Colligan started his career in law enforcement, back when he was a rookie police officer, he joined under a given set of pension rules provided to him and to every other police officer by the political establishment of the day. The Governor should know this, because the person hired back then by the PBA to negotiate those rules was none other than Chris Christie's law partner -- the future Republican National Committeeman for New Jersey and gubernatorial kingmaker, William J. Palatucci. Officer Colligan is merely living under the rules negotiated by others.
Lastly, the local Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS), under which all local police officers and firefighters appointed after June 1944 are covered, is fiscally healthy, in contrast to the pension systems administered by the state, which are failing. Local governments set aside money to fund their pensions, while state governments have historically underfunded the system. So targeting Officer Colligan with this sort of language misses the mark entirely.
Others may have a different opinion, and we invite them to write to us and express it. We will, as is our policy, publish it in full. You can even insult us if you wish. Unlike some in corporate media, we believe in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of our Constitution. It is your right to do so and we will oblige you by printing it without edit.