New Jersey gov't ‘temps’ collecting six-figure pay

With an income exceeding $225,000 last year, Cathy Coyle is the most expensive part-time temp in New Jersey state government. 

The Department of Education paid Coyle $151,862 last year as a "special services" employee. The retired Jersey City school executive also collects a $73,765 annual pension from the state. 

Coyle is not alone. The state agency's Special Services Unit Q has become a haven for double-dippers who game the pension system with the knowledge of the Christie Administration. 

A New Jersey Watchdog investigation found: 

* Two-thirds of the top 60 Unit Q special services workers collect state pensions. 

* Those 40 employees collected roughly $5.9 million last year -- nearly $2.9 million in state pay, plus almost $3 million from retirement checks. 

* Thirty-eight of the double-dippers have six-figure incomes. Five receive more than $200,000 a year. 

To all but insiders, Unit Q is a mystery. It is not on NJDOE's organization chart, and the special services job title is nowhere to be found on the state Civil Service Commission web site. While all of the temps have the same title on the state payroll, they work in a variety of roles that don't necessarily involve special education. 

"Temporary employment services employees are paid by the day, paid only for the days they work and receive no benefits," NJDOE spokesman Michael Yarple said in an email to New Jersey Watchdog. "(They) are part-time. Some are retirees, some are not." 

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