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Report: CamCo Sheriff, Undersheriff Double-Dipping Pensions

The two law enforcement officials are are collecting pensions on top of their regular salaries, according to a report by New Jersey Watchdog.

Two of Camden County's top cops are among 51 double-dippers identified by New Jersey Watchdog in a report detailing more than $9 million in salaries and retirement benefits being drawn by sheriffs and undersheriffs across the state.

Sheriff Charles Billingham and Undersheriff William Fontanez are among those taking advantage of loopholes in the state's pension reforms, according to the report, allowing law enforcement officials to retire from one position after 25 years of service, then jump back in with a new salaried position, while still drawing retirement pay.

Billingham, who makes a total of $219,141 between his retirement pay and salary as sheriff, is the sixth-highest-paid law enforcement official on the list, which is topped by several North Jersey sheriffs. Fontanez, although much lower on the list, still draws six figures, with his combined salary and retirement pay coming in at $165,123.

Both men moved quickly into their new roles after an early retirement—Billingham, who was previously a lieutenant in Washington Township, retired in June 2006 and took office in Camden County in January 2007. Fontanez moved even faster, retiring as a Camden sheriff's officer in April 2003, then taking a new job as a chief warrant officer in the sheriff's department before rising to undersheriff.

Both Billingham and Fontanez were cited in last year's version of the same report, when there were only 40 law enforcement officials identified as double-dippers by New Jersey Watchdog.

Unlike last year, there's legislation in the works that might close the loopholes that allow simultaneous pensions and salaries. A bill sponsored by state Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, would suspend state pension payments to government retirees who return to the public payroll at salaries greater than $15,000—though that bill, and a similar one in the Assembly, have been stalled in committee for most of this year.

“It’s not a great deal for taxpayers, and it’s something we need to fix,” Beck told NBC 4 New York, which produced a report along with New Jersey Watchdog.

“The pension system is to support you when you’re done working. It isn’t there for you to enrich yourself by taking on another public salary.”

The full list of double-dippers is below:

County Title First Last Total/Year Salary Pension Bergen Sheriff Michael Saudino $267,984 $138,000 $129,984 Passaic Sheriff Richard Berdnik $253,947 $151,887 $102,060 Union Sheriff Ralph Froehlich $228,024 $142,728 $85,296 Middlesex Under Kevin Harris $221,985 $116,505 $105,480 Bergen Under Steven Librie $219,448 $115,000 $104,448 Camden Sheriff Charles Billingham $219,141 $144,753 $74,388 Mercer Sheriff John Kemler $219,108 $134,280 $84,828 Bergen Under Brian Smith $217,676 $110,000 $107,676 Warren Sheriff David Gallant $206,464 $124,084 $82,380 Bergen Under Robert Colaneri $204,344 $110,000 $94,344 Somerset Sheriff Frank Provenzano $200,834 $124,910 $75,924 Essex Sheriff Armando Fontoura $200,221 $137,917 $62,304 Morris Under John Dempsey $195,121 $131,905 $63,216 Mercer Under James Taylor $192,192 $112,200 $79,992 Gloucester Sheriff Carmel Morina $191,907 $128,547 $63,360 Middlesex Sheriff Mildred Scott $191,198 $129,950 $61,248 Mercer Under Pedro Medina $191,124 $112,200 $78,924 Morris Sheriff Edward Rochford $191,088 $129,636 $61,452 Hunterdon Sheriff Frederick Brown $191,013 $109,185 $81,828 Monmouth Under Robert Dawson $190,412 $93,980 $96,432 Bergen Under Harry Shortway $185,804 $110,000 $75,804 Sussex Under Kenneth Kuzicki $185,205 $96,525 $88,680 Salem Sheriff Charles Miller $183,222 $107,250 $75,972 Monmouth Under Michael Donovan $179,699 $93,767 $85,932 Passaic Under Joseph Dennis $178,536 $101,820 $76,716 Salem Under Warren Mabey $174,662 $87,062 $87,600 Atlantic Under Theodore Kammer $173,709 $96,525 $77,184 Sussex Under Keith Armstrong $172,797 $96,525 $76,272 Hudson Under James Sharrock $172,595 $102,023 $70,572 Warren Under Kenneth McCarthy $167,516 $81,200 $86,316 Cumberland Sheriff Robert Austino $166,854 $107,250 $59,604 Ocean Sheriff William Polhemus $165,941 $122,669 $43,272 Camden Under William Fontanez $165,123 $113,679 $51,444 Hudson Under Bruce Lamparello $163,571 $102,023 $61,548 Sussex Under George DeOld $162,969 $96,525 $66,444 Somerset Under Charles O’Neill $162,284 $99,800 $62,484 Cape May Sheriff Gary Schaffer $161,572 $107,500 $54,072 Warren Under William Lundon $161,507 $78,155 $83,352 Cape May Under John Maher $161,408 $90,632 $70,776 Hudson Under Andrew Conti $160,443 $102,723 $57,720 Cape May Under Robert Nolan $155,024 $90,632 $64,392 Gloucester Under Joseph O’Leary $153,086 $96,410 $56,676 Monmouth Under Theodore Freeman $151,345 $92,137 $59,208 Gloucester Under Glenn Hammell $151,154 $96,410 $54,744 Hunterdon Under Frank DellaSerra $147,692 $65,000 $82,692 Somerset Under Roy Gandolfe $146,138 $89,402 $56,736 Essex Under Jesus Padilla $145,578 $99,882 $45,696 Hunterdon Under Robert Smith $142,179 $76,935 $65,244 Sussex Sheriff Michael Strada $135,642 $107,250 $28,392 Ocean Under William Sommeling $116,540 $89,000 $27,540 Cumberland Under Norman Franckle $107,292 $60,000 $47,292 TOTAL
$9,150,318 $5,454,378 $3,695,940 AVERAGE
$179,418 $106,949 $72,469

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