Three New Jersey state troopers unions filed a lawsuit Thursday against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff and the state Legislature, charging that state reductions in pension contributions violate the law.
The unions — the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, State Troopers Non-Commissioned Officers Association of New Jersey State Inc., and State Troopers Superior Officers Association of New Jersey — filed the lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court in Trenton.
The lawsuit claims that Mr. Christie’s announcement of reductions in pension contributions to the $76.8 billion New Jersey Pension Fund, Trenton, violates a statute signed by the governor in May 2010 that includes a statement that “failure of the State of any other public employer to make (the) annually required contribution shall be deemed to be an impairment of the contractual right of each such public employee,” according to the complaint.
The case will be argued on June 25, days before the end of the state’s fiscal year.
Mr. Christie announced May 20 a state contribution of $696 million, down from the originally promised $1.58 billion, to the pension fund for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014.
He also announced at the time the fiscal year 2015 contribution would be $681 million, a reduction from the previously pledged $2.25 billion.
Messrs. Christie and Sidamon-Eristoff cited the state law for requiring a balanced state budget as the reason for the announced contribution reductions.
Mr. Christie’s spokesman Michael Drewniak said in a statement, “We will address the claims in court as necessary.”
Joseph R. Perone, Mr. Sidamon-Eristoff’s spokesman, e-mailed a transcript excerpt from Mr. Christie’s news conference on Thursday: “Go ahead and have at it, but I will tell you that I took a lot of time examining this issue, and given the circumstances that we’ve been confronted with, I believe this is not only the best but the only decision we’re left with to deal with the magnitude of the problem that we have, and so if they want to go to court that’s perfectly well within their rights.”
Bloomberg contributed to this story.