NINE DOUBLE-DIPPING SHERIFFS FACE SHOWDOWN IN 2013 ELECTION Report by Mark Lagerkvist
Will this be the year New Jersey voters finally arrest the double-dipping practices of their county sheriffs?
Or will the wallets of taxpayers in the Garden State continue to be held captive by “retired” law enforcement officials who collect both salary and pension?
2013 could bring a showdown at the polls, as nine double-dipping incumbents face re-election. Here’s who they are — and how deep they dip from the governmental trough:
- Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino, $267,984 a year — $138,000 in salary plus $129,984 from pension;
- Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik, $253,947 a year — $151,887 salary plus $102,060 pension;
- Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich, $228,024 a year — $142,728 salary plus $85,296 pension;
- Warren County Sheriff David Gallant, $206,464 a year — $124,084 salary plus $82,380 pension;
- Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano, $200,834 a year — $124,910 salary plus $75,924 pension;
- Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred Scott, $191,198 a year — $129,950 salary plus $61,248 pension;
- Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford, $191,088 a year — $129,636 salary plus $61,452 pension;
- Hunterdon County Sheriff Frederick Brown, $191,013 a year — $109,185 salary plus $81,828 pension; and
- Sussex County Sheriff Michael Strada, $135,642 a year — $107,250 salary plus $28,392 pension.
Overall, 17 of the state’s 21 county sheriffs, or 80 percent, are double-dipping, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation found. Those sheriffs collectively receive $3.37 million a year — $1.22 million from pensions plus salaries totaling nearly $2.15 million.
Even worse, sheriffs have hired a few dozen of double-dippers as their undersheriffs.
Bergen’s Saudino, for example, has four undersheriffs who collect six-figure county salaries plus their pensions as retired cops. Combined, the sheriff and his four top aides rake in nearly $1.1 million a year — $583,000 in county salaries plus $512,256 from police pensions.
Click here for the full list of 51 double-dipping undersheriffs and sheriffs, published in October by New Jersey Watchdog.
Since that report, one double-dipping undersheriff left office in the storm of a scandal and a double-dipping sheriff died.
George DeOld was forced to resign as Sussex County undersheriff after he was caught with a county emergency generator at his house. When DeOld lost power at home in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, he chose to use government property for his personal convenience.
DeOld could afford to buy his own generator. His annual take was $162,969 a year – a $96,525 county salary from the county plus a $66,444 pension as a Paterson City police retiree.
Another double-dipper, Ocean County Sheriff William Polhemus, died in December at age 84. His temporary replacement, William Sommeling, also receives a police pension in addition to his county salary.
Gov. Chris Christie is expected to appoint a successor to Polhemus. A new sheriff will be elected in November.