Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Assembly shoplifter-pension-scam-artist still on the job

Evelyn William, the Assemblywoman from Newark who, after only about a week on the job, was caught shoplifting from a store in Irvington, has yet to resign. What is taking her so long?

In any event, it looks like her pension scam goes deeper than just accepting pay checks and pension checks at the same time. Bill Albers of writes:

The first investigation into this incident will no doubt involve Williams, the shoplifting arrest, and her pension, which she appears to have been receiving improperly.

The issue regarding her pension seems to be what has gotten Williams in serious trouble with not just the law, but her county employers. Williams was fired as director of social services for the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center after it was found that the Assemblywoman was illegally collecting her pension while still working for the county.

Upon further investigation, it seems Williams should not have even qualified for the pension plan, reserved mainly for firemen and police officers in the line of duty.

That may raise an entirely new investigation that could go well beyond Williams herself. Sources both inside and outside of Essex County seem to believe that Williams may not have been the only person to improperly be allowed take advantage of this pension.

The Police and Firemen's Retirement System Board of Trustees is empowered to designate what county and state workers are eligible for inclusion in the plan, of which Williams found herself a part. But, to be included, Williams would have still had to have filed a special application for membership, explaining why her position in social services qualified her for the title of "policeman", a requirement to participate in the plan. The burning question is how Williams was able to join the Police and Fireman's Retirement System, and for what reasons, political or otherwise?

Another issue that may arise as part of that investigation is how diligent Williams was on her job. One of the key factors in the sum total of Williams' pension is the number of service credits she accumulated – that is, the number of months Williams made a full pension contribution. Receiving a full pension from the Police and Firemen's retirement System can take service of twenty years or more. It has been suggested that someone as politically active as Williams, who at one time served as a Deputy Mayor of Newark, may have not been as diligent with her job as someone with more free time, and, at times, she may have turned her county position into a no-show job.

Of course, until a full investigation can be mounted by the state, these are all rumors and allegations.

Yes, these are just allegations at the moment. But the state needs to investigate and provide answers to all these questions. Furthermore, a good hard look at the New Jersey pension system is needed and strict rules are required in order to safegaurd the taxpayers, the pension system and the hard working state employees who have paid some of their salary into the system.

Previous on Williams: Caught Stealing

Previous on the Pension System: Peter's Pension Padding

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