The Belleville mayor and council have suspended pension payments to three township attorneys after a state report came out that said they were improperly enrolled in the state pension system.
The three township attorney were among nearly 200 New Jersey professionals who continued to collect pension credits, despite state laws designed to remove those professionals from the state’s pension system, town officials said.
Belleville officials confirmed that a report released in July by state Comptroller Matthew Boxer stated that three attorneys were improperly enrolled in the state-funded Public Employees’ Retirement System, known as PERS.
Township officials identified them as at the township attorney, assistant township attorney and assistant prosecutor.
Mayor Raymond Kimble said recently that the he disagrees that Township Attorney Thomas Murphy should be exempt from the pension payments. Town officials confirmed that the employees in question were Murphy, assistant township attorney Joseph Angelo and assistant prosecutor John Cerza.
At issue was whether the three were employed as independent contractors or paid as township employees.
No one at the comptroller’s office responded to calls for comment on the Belleville attorneys.
Because the former township manager Victor Canning and the chief financial officer both resigned right before the report was issued, officials said the information was not received or acted upon until late July.
At the Aug. 14 council meeting, Kimble reiterated that the township is appealing Murphy’s removal, after a resident talked about the pension issue.
“We’ve corrected the situation, but in the case of the town attorney, we still think he’s covered,” Kimble said. “We are appealing the decision.”