3 pension funds sue Christie over contributions
DECEMBER 10, 2014, 9:14 AM LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2014, 4:36 PM
BY GEOFF MULVIHILL
New Jersey’s three largest pension funds for public workers sued Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday over his decision to cut contributions earlier this year.
The lawsuit was filed in state chancery court on behalf of the Public Employees Retirement System, Police and Fire Retirement System and the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund. Unions representing public workers previously sued over the contributions cut after a surprise fiscal crunch this year.
“The unions were doing their thing on behalf of their membership,” said Tom Bruno, chairman of PERS. “Our thing is a little different. Ours is a matter of trusteeship.”
The funds also represent nonunion public workers. Bruno says the three members of the PERS board who represent Christie’s administration abstained from the vote on whether to sue and the state attorney general’s office recused itself from the issue.
One key accomplishment of Christie’s first term as governor was an agreement to catch up funding for pension funds. For decades, governors had skimped on or skipped pension payments. As part of the agreement, retired public employees saw their cost-of-living increases suspended and current employees had to increase their retirement contributions.