Posted on

Six-Figure Sick Time Parachute for Police Chief in Palisades Park

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Palisades Park NJ, The police chief in Palisades Park is retiring after a scathing review of the operation of his department, but only after he cashes more than $115,000 in checks for unused sick time. It’s just the latest example of a long string of abuses suffered by property taxpayers in the state, Senator Kip Bateman bristled.

“Sick time was never intended to be a personal retirement account for a select group of public employees, but here we go again,” said Bateman (R-16). “Another police chief retiring, and another six-figure invoice for the property taxpayers to deal with.”

Continue reading Six-Figure Sick Time Parachute for Police Chief in Palisades Park
Posted on

Labor Day stems from deadly labor strike, but few Americans know the history

President Grover Cleveland

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

A labor movement in Chicago in 1894 left 30 Pullman workers dead, and later spurred Congress and President Grover Cleveland to pass a bill creating Labor Day. But the history of this holiday is rarely taught in schools, and there are few full-time labor journalists to write about working class communities.

Sunday, August 31, 2014, 7:31 PM

WASHINGTON — Monday is the day to celebrate the American worker and his sacrifices and economic and social achievements.

You do know that, right?

If you don’t, you’re not alone.

Few recall the bloodstained origins of this holiday as we fire up the grill, throw on the burgers and dogs and turn on the U.S. Open tennis or maybe the Yanks, Mets or another ballgame.

And, in a sign of the times, the Sunday morning network news shows didn’t even offer their usual, token pre-Labor Day weekend spot for the head of the nation’s labor movement.

“No,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka when I asked him. “No invitations this year.”

I told the former mine worker-turned-lawyer that there seems to be a precious lack of understanding of the holiday’s origins.

In fact, it stems from an awful confrontation in Chicago in 1894 that saw federal marshals and the Army kill 30 striking Pullman railroad strikers.

Continue reading Labor Day stems from deadly labor strike, but few Americans know the history
Posted on

The Real Maguire – Who Actually Invented Labor Day?

he staff of the Ridgewood blog

While most sources, even the Department of Labor, credit Peter McGuire with the origination of Labor Day, recent evidence suggests that the true father of Labor Day may in fact be another famous union leader of the 19th Century, Matthew Maguire.

According to legend, Peter McGuire stood before the New York Central Labor Union on May 12, 1882, to suggest the idea of setting aside one day a year to honor labor. McGuire believed that Labor Day should “be celebrated by a street parade which would publicly show the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations.”

Peter McGuire was a young, though well-respected, union leader. A child of immigrants, he quit school at an early age to go to work. In 1881, he founded the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, which would become the largest trade union of the time. Later, McGuire would join with his friend, Samuel Gompers, to found the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Through the AFL and the Carpenters, McGuire led the great strikes of 1886 and 1890, which would eventually result in the adoption of the eight-hour workday on the nation’s agenda.

Recently, however, evidence uncovered at the New Jersey Historical Society in Newark reveals that another respected union figure of the day, Matthew Maguire, may quite possibly be the man behind the creation of Labor Day.

In the 1870s, Matthew Maguire led several strikes, most of which were intended to force the plight of manufacturing workers and their long hours into the public consciousness. By 1882, Maguire had become the secretary of and a leading figure in the Central Labor Union of New York.

According to the New Jersey Historical Society, after President Cleveland signed into law the creation of a national Labor Day, The Paterson (N.J.) Morning Call published an opinion piece entitled, “Honor to Whom Honor is Due,” which stated that “the souvenir pen should go to Alderman Matthew Maguire of this city, who is the undisputed author of Labor Day as a holiday.” This editorial also referred to Maguire as the “Father of the Labor Day holiday.”

So why has Matthew Maguire been overlooked as the “Father of Labor Day”?

According to The First Labor Day Parade, by Ted Watts, Maguire held some political beliefs that were considered fairly radical for the day and also for Samuel Gompers and his American Federation of Labor. Allegedly, Gompers did not want Labor Day to become associated with the sort of “radical” politics of Matthew Maguire, so in a 1897 interview, Gompers’ close friend Peter J. McGuire was assigned the credit for the origination of Labor Day.

Continue reading The Real Maguire – Who Actually Invented Labor Day?
Posted on



the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, according to analysis done by Garden State Initiative this year nearly $2.6 billion in pension payments, almost 25% of all payments, will be headed out of state, two and a half times the national rate.

GSI says ,”As of July 1, 2019, a total of 332,556 retirees were collecting pension payments from the state, with monthly payments totaling nearly $950 million, or over $11 billion annually.”

Posted on

New Jersey has among the most expensive road and bridge networks in the country

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Garden State Initiative (GSI) today released Adding It All Up: The Path to Saving $2 Billion on the Cost of New Jersey’s Roads and Bridges, which includes recommendations based upon a data-driven analysis of our investments in our state’s roads and bridges. Third in a series of reports on the true size of New Jersey’s expansive government, this report identifies $2 billion in savings that can be reinvested for tangible improvements to our state’s infrastructure. The full report can be downloaded here.

Continue reading New Jersey has among the most expensive road and bridge networks in the country
Posted on

NJ State Employee Benefits Cost 50% more then Private Sector

Ridgewood Teachers

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

MORRISTOWN NJ , Garden State Initiative (GSI) today released The Stark Gap Between Public and Private Employee Benefits, an analysis of the latest employee compensation data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which illustrates some dramatic differences in compensation costs between the public and private sectors. While it’s less surprising that government costs for retirement and medical benefits far exceed the private sector, the 50% differential in cost in New Jersey versus the rest of the US is startling.

The analysis was conducted by Charles Steindel, Ph.D., a former New Jersey State Chief Economist and current resident scholar at Ramapo College. It is available for download at:

Continue reading NJ State Employee Benefits Cost 50% more then Private Sector
Posted on

Reader says , “public pension funds will be insolvent by 2027… which means NJ taxpayers have unlimited liability carrying the $12B per year”


“NJ already has the highest combined, state, local, and corporate tax rates in the United States… and the public pension funds will be insolvent by 2027… which means NJ taxpayers have unlimited liability carrying the $12B per year paid out to retired public sector workers, plus their PAYGO (pay as you go) platinum health insurance… Ponzi scheme where the math doesn’t work when private sector employers are leaving and aren’t investing in the state. NJ also has net migration which only worsens the Ponzi scheme. Public sector unions only care about squeezing more blood from a shrinking stone. Greedy pigs “


 “Same for CA, IL, etc, but When the state sends out $12bn a year already in annual pension checks (or 1/3 of our current annual NJ state budget), we have an unlimited pension liability in perpetuity once the public sector pension funds go insolvent by 2027… and that’s not even including “pay-as-you-go” (PAYGO) platinum healthcare insurance… the math doesn’t work. States like NJ, CA, IL, etc will have to explore bankruptcy filings to protect them from all of these excessive liability claims! “

Posted on

New Jerseyans Feel Overtaxed, Unloved and Dissatisfied With State Government

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, As Tax Day approaches, about eight in ten New Jerseyans feel they pay too much in taxes and are not happy with what the state government is doing about the affordability of living in the Garden State, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA).

Eighty-two percent of residents think they pay too much in taxes for what they get, and large majorities believe the taxes they pay – namely, property taxes (79 percent), the 41.4 cent gas tax (77 percent), and the state income tax (62 percent) – are unfair. Only the sales tax sits well with residents, with over half (58 percent) saying the tax is reasonable.

Continue reading New Jerseyans Feel Overtaxed, Unloved and Dissatisfied With State Government
Posted on

Sweeney Town Hall Meeting On ‘Path To Progress’ Fiscal Reforms At Monmouth University


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

TRENTON NJ, Senate President Steve Sweeney will hold a town hall meeting from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, March 11, in Wilson Hall, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, NJ to conduct a public discussion about the fiscal reforms in the “Path To Progress” report.

Hosted by Grey J. Dimenna, the President of Monmouth University, the forum will include the participation of Senator Vin GopalSenator Declan O’Scanlon and Peter Reinhart, from the Monmouth University Kislak Real Estate Institute and a member of the Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup.

Posted on

Reader says , “time is money and money is finding other places to live”


Go west (or south) young families as leaving Ridgewood is sad but apparently, financially prudent. State and local governments have little leeway to manage their budgets given their contractual salary, healthcare and pension obligations. Population trends, prevailing taxes, and budget stress are tell tale signs that our Village and State’s financial problems are not revenue but expense related. Decades long deficits and massive unfunded pension obligations are proof that state and local fiscal strategies are out of sync.

Unlike the private sector, government wage and benefit payouts are not flexible. They increase with the passage of time. We in the Village have been served this sandwich for years and now people are moving faster to greener pastures that offer a different menu. With that said, it is encouraging that some of our state level elected officials recognize our financial crisis for what it is, as a spending problem. It would be nice to hear that locally…Our only hope is that the same political and perhaps certain union leaders will act bravely to modify current arrangements that mitigate growing budget deficits. In this matter, all interests are aligned.

Real and sustainable fiscal management is difficult to implement. It takes compromise and commitment but the resulting policy changes are not hard to understand. Some are obvious such as i) 401Ks for new hires versus a pension, ii) altering timing on pension payouts, iii) means based health care programs versus the gold standard regardless of house hold income, and iv) eliminating revenue draining white elephant projects such as municipally run/owned parking garages. (Sorry, I could not help myself.)

It is likely naive of me to hope that our leaders (again be they elected or union leaders) will deflect our current financial trajectory But it is a must because it is the only way to ensure what was contracted is delivered. A deal is a deal and we should stand by what we agreed to pay. However, all have to recognize that will be true only if there is money to pay for what was promised. The balance is we all have a line in the sand on how much more we will pay to support current services.

My comments are not intended to offend anyone. Their purpose is to be a call to action and compromise because I love it here. I enjoy my neighbors, the schools, teachers, the community, and I don’t want to bailout when my kids are off to college. I want to be apart of the solution and not just a piggy bank. I know others feel the same but we will vote with our feet if our leaders lead poorly and without reasonable foresight.

Village Counsel and union leaders, is there a willingness to make reasonable contractual changes now before it is too late or do you prefer the status quo? Your responses and actions are very powerful. Your decisions will dictate how fast our tax base erodes and how the Village will deliver on the benefits of your bargain. I respectfully suggest that your challenge is now because time is money and money is finding other places to live.