Auditors say the New Jersey Turnpike Authority wasted $43 million on unneeded perks and bonuses. In one case, an employee with a base salary of $73,469 earned $321,985 when all payouts and bonuses were included.
The audit says that toll dollars From the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway were spent on items ranging from an employee bowling league to employee bonuses for working on birthdays and holidays.
It took place as tolls were being increased.
The biggest expense uncovered in the audit was $30 million in unjustified bonuses to employees and management in 2008 and 2009 without consideration of performance.
One example was paying employees overtime for removing snow and working holidays and then giving additional "snow removal bonuses" and "holiday bonuses."
But remember, folks, Democrats routinely inform us that greedy corporations are ruining the American economy, and that the US Chamber of Commerce poses a grave threat to the Republic. Show of hands, private sector employees, how many of you receive extra compensation for working on your birthday? Anyone?
There's even more good news on the way for New Jersey taxpayers:
Comptroller Matt Boxer says tolls are set for another increase in 2012.
"While tolls are going up, the Turnpike Authority is overpaying its employees, overpaying its management, overpaying for its health plan and overpaying for legal services," Boxer said in a statement.
No wonder the public sector unions have been fighting tooth and nail against virtually every reform effort Gov. Chris Christie has proposed. If you were receiving double bonuses for snow removal, wouldn't you?
UPDATE: A reader reminds me that when New Jersey's two major toll roads were built in the 1950's, politicians pledged that tolls would be totally phased out once the state had collected sufficient funds to pay the original construction bills. Needless to say, that never happened. I couldn't find independent online confirmation of the reader's recollection, so I called the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to see if they knew the definitive history. I'm, ahem, waiting for a call back. If I ever get one, that worker might be entitled to a $30,000 bonus just for placing the call.