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7 5 ¢ / F R I D AY, J A N U A R Y 1 6 , 2 0 1 5
Take a toddler to see Paddington’s big-screen debut. IN GOOD TIMES
Lawyer: State not bound by pension law
Assistant Attorney General Jean Reilly says 2011 law is
unconstitutional when it requires Gov. Chris Christie to make
payments into the troubled New Jersey fund.
By Samantha Marcus
NJ Advance Media for Times of Trenton
New Jersey’s highly touted 2011
pension law is unconstitutional
when it commits Gov. Chris
Christie to make a full payment
into the troubled pension system,
but not when it comes to concessions that public workers agreed
to in exchange, an attorney for the
state said Thursday.
Assistant Attorney General Jean
Reilly told a Superior Court judge
that the Legislature can change
workers’ contributions or suspend
cost of living adjustments — two
crucial pieces of the overhaul
— but that doesn’t mean the state
has to make the payment into the
system as spelled out in the law.
“They’re not irrevocably bound
together,” Reilly said near the end
of a five-hour hearing as a dozen
unions try to force the governor to
make the state’s entire contribution this fiscal year.
The statement later prompted
Judge Mary Jacobson to ask:
“When the state’s not holding up
its end of the bargain, (how can
you) expect the individual employees to hold up theirs?”
Reilly said the state budget
trumps all laws and cuts can be
made to the pension system in
tough economic times.
The point was crucial to the
billion-dollar showdown between
union lawyers and the Republican
governor over an issue that has
dominated Trenton since Christie
took office.
Jacobson did not issue a ruling
on Thursday or say when it could
be expected, but the decision
could determine the future of the
returns to Giants
The Giants are bringing
back Steve Spagnuolo as
their defensive coordinator.
Spagnuolo was hired on
Thursday, returning to the
team he helped win the
2007 Super Bowl. /
Page B1
Mercer Executive Brian Hughes promises additional improvements to the
airport, which he predicts will have a huge regional return on investment.
St. Paul
hits goal,
stays open
By Mike Davis
Times of Trenton
With a deadline determining its
fate just hours away, donations to
St. Paul School crossed the finish
line and ensured it will open its
doors in September.
School officials on Thursday
announced that the Catholic
school has raised nearly $260,000
and will remain open for the
2015-16 school year after a
feverish six-week fundraising
campaign launched in December.
“Everybody’s very, very happy.
We’re ready to pick it up,” Principal Bill Robbins said Thursday
morning. “We’re really ready to
move on and, with all the commitment here in the community and
among the parents and kids, we
really know we’re going to be
Robbins, staff members and
volunteers counted last-minute
donations late into the night
Wednesday. A phone message
went out to families, and students
stood and cheered at an assembly
Thursday morning where
Robbins shared the news.
“All of us slept a little better last
night,” PTA co-president Kerri
Chewning said. “People are
ecstatic. We’re absolutely thrilled.
We’re off and running.”
In December, the Diocese of
Trenton announced that St.
Katharine Drexel Parish could no
longer afford to fund the 144-yearold school and gave supporters a
Jan. 15 deadline to raise enough
money to keep the school open.
Throughout December and into
January, the school hosted several
big and small fundraisers,
including an Ugly Sweater
Dance-a-thon and a beef-and-beer
dinner last week that morphed
into an alumni reunion.
The school needed to raise
$250,000 to ensure beyond a
doubt that it would remain open
next year. The total will probably
be around $260,000, including
matching donations from
Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes says the county will replace Trenton-Mercer Airport’s passenger terminal, in his State of the County address
at the Hyatt Regency Princeton in West Windsor on Thursday. Below, attendees mingle in the Hyatt lobby. (PHOTOS BY MICHAEL MANCUSO/TIMES OF TRENTON)
By James McEvoy / Times of Trenton
xpressing a commitment to continue to build
on what he called a monumental turnaround at
Trenton-Mercer Airport, County Executive Brian
Hughes said Thursday the county will move forward with plans to replace the facility’s 48-year-old passenger terminal.
“I want to ensure that our airport is prepared to take advantage of future opportunities and the economic impact
that could result. The return on investment for our region
will be huge,” Hughes said during his annual State of the
County address.
Address highlights
JOBS: Unemployment rate was
5.1 percent in October, below the
state rate of 6.6 percent.
ECONOMY: Increased tourism
throughout the county and
increased revenue from
Trenton-Mercer Airport.
LAND: Total value of properties
in the county expected to
increase in 2015.
government’s fiscal discipline
saw job reduction of 200
full-time positions.
AID: County outreach to cut
homelessness and increase
public safety.
CONSTRUCTION: Infrastructure
improvements like the Bear
Tavern Road Bridge over Jacobs
Partly sunny and windy during the day.
Mainly clear skies throughout the night.
High: 38° Low: 15° / Forecast, Page A2
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Like recent terminal improvements and new parking lots,
Hughes said airport revenue
would ultimately help finance
future improvements without
county tax dollars.
Hughes also told the 500 local
officials and business leaders at
the event, hosted by the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce at the
Hyatt Regency Princeton in West
Windsor, that he will seek a
fourth term as county executive.
“My aim is to make Mercer
County even greater,” Hughes
said, citing a desire to follow
through on dropping unemployment and increased economic
He acknowledged the air travel
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industry “is always in flux” in
light of Frontier Airlines’ announcement last week it would
discontinue service to five
destinations out of Trenton.
Despite this, Hughes reiterated
his confidence in the airline,
which, he said, “is poised for
expansion in our region.”
Hughes touted 2014 as a
landmark year for the county,
which saw its park facilities host
some of the Special Olympics’
national games. Hughes said the
event would help build on prior
success of the local tourism
industry that saw visitors spend
$1.9 billion in the region in 2013.
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