Frank Balles, Republican candidate for Atlantic County Sheriff, today pledged that, if elected, he would not file to collect his police officer?s pension, but would accept only the salary of the Sheriff.
?Collecting two taxpayer-supported incomes while serving in public office — as my opponent has been doing for several years — is simply not acceptable,? said Balles, a captain in the Pleasantville Police Department and a 23-year-veteran of the force. ?I am seeking the office to implement new and innovative crime-fighting techniques and to mold the Sheriff?s Department into an effective and professional law enforcement agency. Unlike my opponent, I am not running in pursuit of personal financial gain or to line my own pockets with public money.?
Balles said Sheriff Jim McGettigan receives the $102,000 annual salary as Sheriff, but also collects $5,100 per month from a pension whose amount is based partly on his Sheriff?s salary, for a combined compensation package of $163,200 — for the same job.
?He has taken advantage of a loophole in the law to collect an additional $61,200 a year from a pension for the job he holds,? Balles said. ?It is not the job of the Sheriff to look for loopholes for financial self-benefit; rather, it is the job of the Sheriff to bring leadership, integrity and competence to county-level law enforcement. McGettigan?s record speaks loudly and clearly that he does not understand then difference.?
Republican County Chairman Keith A. Davis called on McGettigan to respond to the criticisms of his tenure in office — including his salary and pension double dipping — rather than ?desperately trying to avoid any discussion of his record by dismissing questions about his conduct in office as old news.?
?He?s a double dipper; he abused his county-issued gasoline credit card so severely that his use privileges were revoked; he?s violated the county ban on the wheeling of campaign contributions; an audit of his office revealed he was unable to account for nearly a million dollars in public funds, and when asked if he knew how much money his department spent he said he didn?t know,? Davis said. ?He may think his abysmal record is old news, but he can?t escape responsibility for it no matter how hard he tries.?
?McGettigan has broken or failed to deliver on virtually every promise he made when campaigning for office,? Davis said. ?But, he didn?t seem to experience any difficulty delivering for himself.?