Gov. Christie: Today Is A Monumental Day As We Appoint Colonel Callahan NJSP Superintendent

Transcript:

Governor Christie: I just want to clear up some things from last week, and you know, we had, the Treasurer had sent out a letter to teachers across the State of New Jersey to advise them during this open enrollment period for their health insurance about the differences between the agreements we were able to reach with all of the other unions and the teachers union that would cost them now an additional $1,400 a year over the last two years. Different than their brothers and sisters in the police or fire line, or in the other municipal lines, because they had agreed to certain reforms. You know, the Treasurer thought this was important to do, his fiduciary responsibility in managing these funds, both the pension fund and the health funds, to let them know that there were opportunities that were not being taken advantage of. We let that go last year, we weren’t going to let it go for two years in a row. There was a response, and by the way, also in that letter he mentioned that the reason he thought that their union leadership was out of touch with this is that the average teacher in New Jersey makes about $70,000 a year. The average leader in the union makes $540,000 a year. So a $1,400 increase in health insurance cost to someone making $70,000 a year is significant. To someone making $540,000 a year or more, it is much less significant and that maybe they needed to get in line with what their members were actually making. Unfortunately, the union as it has done over the course of the last eight years responded in a hostile fashion and sent out an email that was filled with inaccuracies to their members. So we’ve given out to the members of the press today the specifics on reforms that all of the other unions agreed to, which will show you there was no additional out-of-pocket expenses for accepting these reforms and in fact in some cases, depending upon the choices that folks made, they could actually save money by making these choices and have excellent coverage. So that allegation in their email is absolutely provably wrong, and then secondly, they said that the compensation numbers that we laid out for folks in that letter were inaccurate, and they said they don’t make that money. Well, what we’ve given you today is a copy of the form 990 that the teachers union files with the internal revenues service each and every year to detail their expenses. And the 2015 form is signed on July of 2017 by Sean Spiller, the Secretary Treasurer of the teachers’ union, and it goes through a few, if you go through it it shows a number of different things in the form but most specifically a few things that we said in there that they collect $121 million every year in membership dues, $121 million. That number comes right out of their filing with the IRS. And then we went through specifically the amount of money, compensation, that people are given each and every year. If you go through that, and it’s in this form, you’ll see that the way it was characterized by the Treasurer is exactly accurate with this form. It’s where we got the information from and so if you look at it we said that Ed Richardson, the Executive Director of the teacher’s union made $1.21 million, in 2015. They put in there, what is his base compensation? What is his deferred compensation? What are the non-taxable benefits that he gets? And then the total, the total is $1.21 million. The Assistant Executive Director, his assistant, we say that he made $720,000, he made $722,906. Most amazingly, people who no longer work there, no longer work there, are making six figures, and we didn’t put that in the letter apparently that the Treasurer sent, but Vince Giordano who is a past Executive Director made $312,825 in 2015, when he was no longer employed at the teacher’s union. Barbara Keshishian the past President, no longer the President in 2015 of the teacher’s union, was paid $187,222 to not work. And when you look at the addendum that they put on there in the end, she also received a severance package of $126,992 in 2015, and more money into her retirement plan of another $29,402. Also, interesting to note that folks who are making, the Officers, Executive Director, Assistance Executive Director, the NJEA President, they’re making $1.2 million a year. The President, the current President at that time, Wendell Steinhauer, making $649,000 a year, and they received $1,000 clothing allowance. So apparently making $649,000 a year isn’t enough for you to buy clothes, so you needed $1,000 clothing allowance. Also, they received $2,000 to reimburse them for companion travel. So if they want to bring a companion to travel with them apparently for someone like the Secretary Treasurer, Mr. Spiller, making $330,000 was not enough he needed a $1,000 reimbursement for companion travel. Now, listen, they’ve told their members this is untrue. So what you all need to ask them is who are they lying to? Are they lying to their members or are they lying to the Internal Revenue Service, because I’m sure if they’re lying to the Internal Revenue Service they’ll be very interested to know that they’ve made a false swearing to the Internal Revenue Service and I’m sure they US Attorney’ Office in New Jersey would be very interested in that fact as well, a job that I have some experience with. And secondly, if they’re lying to their members then their members should know that that’s an untruth. So, you know, we don’t make these numbers up. The numbers are filed with the Internal Revenue Service in a public document and were sworn to by their Secretary Treasurer in July of ’17. So I have no interest in continuing this fight but I am not going to sit back and allow the teacher’s union to send out stuff to their members saying the Treasurer is conveying untruths when in fact all we did was take it off the very form that they. And if they want to make a distinction between current compensation and deferred compensation let them explain that to their teachers because by the way, all of these folks are folks who get pensions as well. So I don’t think they want to be talking to you about whether or not deferred compensation is really compensation or not. I think members know that if you’re going to get it eventually you’ve gotten it. If it’s vested, it’s yours, and they get deferred compensation every year by the way, so it’s not like it happens one time. So, you know, they can play whatever political games they want to play, and maybe we can hold them to account to just be consistent. If those numbers are inaccurate that they gave to the Internal Revenue Service, then they should file an amended form 990 and tell us what the real numbers are. Or they should send out a new email to their members saying that what they told them in fact was untrue.

 

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Press Contact:
Brian Murray
609-777-2600

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