WOODBRIDGE – The president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) decried the choice of locale for the start of Gov. Chris Christie’s “No Pain, No Gain” pension reform tour as “callous,” citing Christie’s recent moves regarding public workers’ pensions as something even more painful.
In a written statement, State PBA President Patrick Colligan specifically referred to the Christie administration taking out a $2.6 billion short-term loan with financial firm J.P. Morgan on July 1 to bolster the new $32.5 billion state budget and pay for the bills that will come due. Colligan’s criticisms came in context of Christie’s upcoming appearance next Tuesday, July 22, at the Bay View Park Gazebo in Long Beach Township to discuss his ideas on pension reform and to take questions.
“His callous choice of venue is not lost on the policemen, firefighters and teachers who recently built a playground there as part of the Sandy Ground Project. That park was built in memory of Lauren Rousseau, one of the brave teachers who lost her life protecting her children at the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy. It was built with the sweat of dedicated policemen, firemen and teachers who volunteered their time to honor this incredibly brave teacher who should have never expected to lose her life in her chosen profession. It is a personal affront to every volunteer that participated in the building of that playground and every public worker that continues to make their pension contributions and healthcare co-pays and don’t share the ability of saying “I can’t afford it” like the Governor can,” Colligan said in the statement issued Friday. “Long Beach Island is approximately 18 miles long. There are many appropriate and convenient venues throughout the island that the Governor can roll out his disgraceful attempt to once again vilify the hard-working public workers who have made the hard sacrifices with his last round of reforms.”
“The movie trailer made by his staff while the state was simultaneously taking out a $2.6 billion dollar bridge loan to pay their bills was an absolute disgrace,” Colligan added, a reference to the trailer released by Governor Christie’s office this week that also featured Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson until the actor’s lawyer’s asked for Johnson’s image to be removed. “The State PBA believes that the creative resources of the Governor’s office could be better spent trying to improve our dismal unemployment rate, closing the budget gap, attracting business to our state or figuring out how to make the legally required pension payment. Instead, they chose to use the resources to publicly mock our public workers. I sincerely hope that the Governor will choose a more respectful and appropriate venue for his attack.”
The Governor’s office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.