Raymond Carnevale, former finance chief in Hackensack, New Jersey, didn’t wait for Governor Chris Christie to end payouts for unused sick time and vacation. He cashed in 402 accrued days for $267,573 and retired last May with an annual pension of $39,868.

“To say it’s getting out while the getting’s good is too harsh: It’s more like getting out while it’s safe,” Carnevale, 64, who spent 24 years on Hackensack’s payroll and 41 total in municipal government, said in an interview.

Hackensack, a city of about 43,000 people seven miles (11 kilometers) west of New York City, paid $4.6 million of sick and vacation time to 36 retiring workers including Carnevale this budget year. Eight older workers not subject to a city cap on the payments received checks exceeding $200,000. The rush to retire is attributable to Christie’s proposed clampdown on workers’ benefits, City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono said.