Office of the State Comptroller audit finds Keansburg Police Chief received 55 vacation days in one year

Borough paid $451,000 in longevity bonus payments in two years; police officers were eligible for bonuses after one year of service

TRENTON – An audit released today by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) finds that the Borough of Keansburg gave excessive benefits to its employees, including 11 weeks of vacation to the Police Chief in 2018.

“Keansburg’s Police Chief was granted vacation leave on the taxpayer’s dime for more than 20 percent of the work year,” said Acting State Comptroller Kevin D. Walsh. “Eleven weeks of vacation is unreasonable and wasteful.

“Most New Jerseyans are lucky to get a few weeks of vacation each year. Giving a public employee who is paid $208,000 per year eleven weeks of vacation – in addition to paid holidays, sick leave, and compensatory time – isn’t illegal, but it should be. The Legislature possesses the power to stop this sort of waste and abuse and has used it in the past to protect taxpayers. In the absence of legislative changes, these sorts of outrageous abuses will continue.”

The Borough paid $451,000 in longevity payments in 2017 and 2018 – essentially a yearly bonus for length of service. Police officers were eligible for longevity bonuses after one year of service. Other Borough employees received them after five years. 

OSC found that approximately 76 percent of the longevity payments in 2017 and 2018 were paid to police officers. Police officers received 2 to 10 percent of their base pay in longevity payments. Three officers each received more than $10,000 a year.

“Longevity payments are nothing but bonuses that float under the radar,” said Walsh. “We found instances of selling back comp time, sick days, and in some cases months of vacation days. Government transparency and accountability is diminished when taxpayers fund what are essentially yearly bonuses that are all but untraceable to taxpayers.” 

OSC’s audit found that the Police Chief was paid out for unused vacation time in 2017 and 2018 despite his employment contract prohibiting such payments. He was paid for 50 unused vacation days in 2018 and 30 days in 2017. The payments were based off his yearly salary, which was $208,032 in 2018 and $203,953 in 2017.  

The Borough’s Municipal Clerk also received payments for unused vacation days in 2018 and 2017 based off the Clerk’s $168,096 and $164,359 salaries. The Clerk’s contract prohibited such payouts except upon retirement.

The Clerk also received payouts for 10 unused sick days in 2018 and 20 unused sick days in 2017.

All told, the Borough improperly paid $95,000 to these two employees for unused vacation and sick days in 2017 and 2018. In its response, Keansburg said that there will be no further sellbacks of unused time for the Police Chief and Municipal Clerk.

OSC recently reported that Palisades Park gave sick leave payouts to its employees for years in violation of state law.

OSC found that Keansburg provided other extravagant benefits to its employees, including:

  • Police officers with more than 21 years of service were granted 30-45 days of vacation leave according to their collective bargaining agreement. (State employees with 20 years of service receive 25 days of vacation.)
  • The Deputy Chief of Police received 50 days of vacation and the Municipal Clerk received 30 days of vacation.

Borough employees were provided with compensatory time that could be sold back. Three employees received payments for compensatory time sold back to the Borough, including the Police Chief who received $8,002 and $3,922 in 2017 and 2018. The Deputy Police Chief received $10,504 from selling back his comp time for those two years.

“These are the types of excessive benefits unheard of for state employees or private sector workers,” said Walsh. “Keansburg residents deserve to receive the highest level of service and the best possible value from their public employees.”

In another area of its audit, OSC also found that the Borough provided health benefit opt-out waiver payments to two employees who were actually covered by the State Health Benefits Program. In addition, another employee was overpaid $2,984. The improper payments totaled about $19,250 in 2017 and 2018.

Finally, OSC found that Keansburg was not maintaining any policies regarding employee’s usage of Borough-owned vehicles. Keansburg noted in its response that it has already taken corrective action to properly monitor the use of municipal vehicles.

To report government fraud, waste or abuse, file an anonymous complaint with OSC online. You can also call 1-855-OSC-TIPS (1-855-672-8477) or email

The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) is an independent state agency that works to advance transparency and accountability throughout New Jersey government and to ensure taxpayer funds are spent efficiently and effectively. OSC conducts audits and investigations of government agencies throughout New Jersey, reviews government contracts, and works to detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicaid.

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