I am a State of New Jersey employee. And like the thousands of other state employees, we work hard to do our best to serve the citizens of NJ. We are the ones who care for and provide services for your disabled family members. We are the ones that protect the children of NJ. We are the ones that repair your roads. We are the ones that process the paperwork for all kinds of things that benefit you. We may not be perfect, but we try our hardest to perform our duties to the best of our abilities.
I personally do not know any state employee that has taken any elaborate trip. I would not consider driving to a New York hospital to retrieve a mentally retarded adult who left NJ for a cup of coffee a fun time, not to mention any monetary reimbursement or paid meal. I would not consider receiving a jar of homemade jam as a family’s way of saying thanks to be an extravagant gift, not to mention the jam could not even be eaten by the employee because it would be considered accepting a gift which is prohibited by State Ethic rules. I do not know any state employee that has, or will, retire with a pension that will permit living a life style any better than he knew while still employed.
Do trips, gifts, very high pension payments occur to state employees? I am not so naïve as to think not. But it is not the average, everyday state worker you will ever come in contact with. The state employees that reap these extreme benefits are the exception. These are the state employees in the “ivory palaces” in Trenton and other administrative offices, making the policy that the everyday state worker has to perform. Or they are the few employees given payback for political favors. And when the ordinary state worker brings to light a questionable practice or use of state funds, he is ignored or told to be quiet.
With the State budget in such bad shape, it is easy to blame state workers for the problem. Medical benefits, salaries, and high pensions are the alleged reasons for the budget crisis.