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Improper Participation by Professional Service Providers in the New Jersey State Pension System: Investigative Report
A. Matthew Boxer (ed)
An Office of the New Jersey State Comptroller (OSC) investigation has uncovered widespread improper participation in the state pension system among attorneys and other professionals working as independent contractors for local governments. OSC reviewed 58 municipalities and school districts and found that an overwhelming majority of those local governments failed to comply with a 2007 state law that required all public entities to determine whether their professional service providers were bona fide employees as opposed to independent contractors. In total, following its review OSC has referred 202 pension enrollees to the state Div. of Pensions and Benefits for review and removal of improper pension credits. The 2007 law made clear that individuals are ineligible for state pension credits if they were retained through a public contracting process or if they otherwise meet the Internal Revenue Serviceńˇ╗s (IRS) multi-factor definition of an independent contractor. Individuals ineligible for pension credits were to be removed from the system once their existing contract or annual appointment expired in 2008. The failure of local governments to properly implement the 2007 law occurred despite guidance letters issued both by the Div. of Pensions and Benefits and by the Dept. of Community Affairs, directing local officials to review and document the status of all local professional service providers. OSCńˇ╗s investigation nonetheless found, for ex., that 34 professional service vendors continued to be enrolled in the state pension system even though they were retained through a contract awarded under New Jerseyńˇ╗s public contracting laws, an unequivocal violation of the 2007 statute. Figures. This is a print on demand report.
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