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>Kathleen A. Donovan : There have been confusing news reports inaccurately linking my pension status

>Kathleen A. Donovan : There have been confusing news reports inaccurately linking my pension status

There have been confusing news reports inaccurately linking my pension status with retirement issues involving other public employees and elected officials. Unfortunately, New Jersey’s complicated public employee retirement/pension system contributes significantly to the confusion which leads to inaccurate stories which raise unnecessary concerns.

So that you know the real, accurate story, I have taken the liberty of providing answers to questions you may be asking. If you have any additional question not addressed below, please let me know and I will respond directly.


Kathleen A. Donovan


Q. Are you retired?

A. No. I retired as County Clerk last year when I was elected County Executive. This was required as I could not and would not hold two elected positions at the same time.

Q. Why did you take your pension?

A. I had to under State law. When I retired as County Clerk I could no longer be included in the Public Employment Retirement System (PERS). I was in effect “kicked out.” My options were limited. I could take my pension or leave my money in limbo and collect it at a future date. What would you do? Probably exactly what I did: take it.

Q. Would your pension have been at risk if you had left it with the state?

A. Quite possibly. It’s farfetched but the state’s pension plan is underfunded by some $55 billion. Would you risk your money if you didn’t have to?

Q. Could you have taken your pension earlier?

A. Yes. Under New Jersey State law I could have retired after 25 years of service (in 2007). I chose not to. I only took my pension when I had no other viable option.

Q. Are you getting a new pension as County Executive?

A. No. Neither the taxpayers nor I contribute to my pension any longer. It’s one and done and I’m done. No new pension.

Q. Is this compensation?

A. No. My compensation as County Executive is $134,000 (actually less than I earned as County Clerk). I do not receive additional pension benefits because I have taken my pension as provided by law.

Q. Are you taking advantage of a loophole?

A. No. This is not a loophole. This is totally consistent with State law.

Q. Are you “double dipping”?

A. No. I get my paycheck but no additional pension benefit.

A pension is not compensation. Its money put away for retirement. I do pay taxes on my pension as it is now personal income to me. But I get it whether I work or not. It’s not pay. It’s pension.

Thanks for your interest. Again, if you have any other questions please e-mail me at:

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