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'totally disabled' former officer milks pension for $570k while running 26 minute 5Ks

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  • 'totally disabled' former officer milks pension for $570k while running 26 minute 5Ks

    http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2010/05/24/david_rible/

    Assemblyman David P. Rible retired as a Wall Township police officer at age 31 with a bad back and a fat pension. He’s collected $570,000 in disability payments since a state board decided he was “totally and permanently disabled.”

    Yet Rible competes in five-mile and five-kilometer runs along the Jersey Shore. He exercises at a gym, dances as a celebrity and hauls trash to the curb at his Monmouth County home. He commutes to Trenton to represent the 11th District in the State Assembly, where he holds a leadership position as Republican Whip and seeks publicity as a tax-fighter.

    In addition to his $49,000 salary as a legislator, Rible continues to receive a state disability pension that pays $54,502 a year – without a second look from authorities.

    Now 42, Rible is set for life. If he lives until 80, he will pocket another $2 million from the state pension fund. That would raise Rible’s jackpot to roughly $2.6 million, not including cost-of-living hikes or his medical coverage.

    “I do oppose government waste, but I don’t see this as government waste,” said Rible, leaving his health club after a workout. “This is something that has been set forth in the rules of the pension.”

    Those rules can be costly. Lottery-sized payouts threaten to break the back of New Jersey’s retirement and benefits system for public workers, struggling under the weight of $110 billion in projected debt. The state pension plans are short $46 billion, according to the most recent audit – plus retiree health benefits are underfunded by $64 billion.

    A New Jersey Watchdog investigation of Rible’s case revealed how wasteful that system can be.

    In 1988, Wall Township hired Rible as a patrolman. Five years later – on October 17, 1993 – the young officer was injured on the job. Rible later recalled the incident in his retirement application.

    In his statement to the pension board, Rible said he and two other township detectives responded to an early morning noise complaint at a gravel pit. On foot, the officers pursued three men suspected of igniting fireworks and drinking alcohol. Rible stated he fell from an embankment during the chase and hurt his lower back.

    Nearly four weeks later, Rible went to the police department’s physician with complaints of back pain. Eventually, in January 1998, he had back surgery.

    In October 1998, the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System’s Board of Trustees approved Rible’s application for retirement. Because it was determined an “accidental disability” – a direct result of a line-of-duty mishap – his pension started at $45,921 a year, even though he had only been on the job for 10 years. If Rible had retired with an “ordinary disability” pension, he would have received only $10,332 a year, or 1.5 percent of his salary for each year of service.

    Rible returned to the workforce less than a year after his disability pension began. The state Department of Safety and Law hired him in 1999 as an insurance fraud investigator. The following year, Rible left that job to start his own business as a locksmith. For the next eight years, he owned and operated Dr. Lock, Inc. in Wall Township.

    In 2007, David Rible was elected to the State Assembly as a Republican in the 11th District. Last year, he was re-elected to a second two-year term.

    But those weren’t Rible’s only competitions. On Oct. 11, 2009, the “totally disabled” assemblyman wore No. 3694 in the 27th Annual Run Thru Deal. He completed the five-kilometer run in 26 minutes, 50 seconds, according to official races results.

    Records show Rible also competed in:

    * The Avon 5K Run at Avon-by-the-Sea on May 31, 2008 in 30:45.2.
    * The five-mile Johnny Cobb Memorial Run in Belmar on July 12, 2008 in 49:22.2.
    * The Sea Girt 5K on Aug. 3, 2008 in 28:14.2.
    * The Neptune City 5K on Aug. 1, 2009 in 28:42.2.

    “What I’m doing is pretty much therapy for my back,” said Rible. “When I run a road race, I’m not running for competition.”

    For support, Rible offered an interview with Gordon D. Donald, an orthopaedic surgeon who performed a “successful” spinal fusion on the assemblyman around 2005.

    According to Dr. Donald, Rible’s disability prevents him from working as a police officer – but not from running races, ocean surfing at the Jersey Shore or almost any other physical activity he chooses. “There is no correlation between the two,” he said.

    Dr. Donald acknowledged he has not examined Rible for “several years…possibly 2006 or 2007.”

    It’s been even longer since the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System has exercised its right to re-examine Rible to determine whether he still qualifies for a disability pension.

    Back in 1998, the pension board notified Rible “the statute permits the Board of Trustees to require a disability retirant to undergo annual medical examinations to determine if he/she continues to be totally and permanently disabled and therefore eligible for continued receipt of his/her disability retirement allowance.”

    In response to a request by New Jersey Watchdog, pension officials affirmed there are no records of any re-examination of Rible since then.

    If the board was to re-evaluate Rible, the legal standard would be whether he would be “considered totally and permanently disabled…from performing (his) normal or assigned job duties or any other position with no possibility for significant improvement.”

    The question is whether Rible is fit for “any other position,” such as a desk assignment or administrative work.

    “The answer is yes,” said Dr. Donald. “Could he do those duties? Of course he can.”

    Rible said he was never offered any such opportunity. “They pretty much didn’t have any use for me,” he said. So the assemblyman collects disability checks between his boardwalk runs and legislative trips to Trenton.

    Earlier this year, Rible voted for two pension reform bills in the State Assembly. Both measures were approved by the Legislature and signed into law. One statute includes provisions to end accidental disability pension benefits for new members in two of the state’s pension plans – the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund.

    However, that reform does not apply to the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System – Rible’s plan – even though it has five times more “accidental” retirees than any other state pension plan, and more than all of the other plans combined.

    Ironically, Assemblyman Rible has been a vocal critic of compensation paid to other public employees:

    * In January 2009, Rible criticized a $500,000 severance package given to outgoing Rutgers University Athletic Director Robert Mulcahy. “Is it any wonder this state is in such a financial hole?” Rible asked in his press release.
    * In March of this year, Rible introduced legislation to “reign in excessive salaries paid to school administrators.” “This is absolutely outrageous,” said Rible in his press release. “It’s a blatant abuse of the system and one of the reasons our property taxes are so high.”
    * In April, Rible publicly lambasted a $600,000 settlement offered to fired Rutgers University basketball coach Fred Hill.

    In his press releases, Rible failed to mention his own disability jackpot – one that has already paid him $570,000 – and could easily exceed $2 million.




    http://www.daverible.com/
    Anyone know the extent of his injuries?

  • #2
    The fact that the retired Officer can run a 5K has nothing to do with his disability. In NYC there was a disabled firefighter who won Empire State Building Race. Of course many "know-it-alls"......so the pension board called him back and the docs found that while he could run....lifting and carrying was out of the question...imagine the same is true here.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would disagree. When you go out on a back injury from falling down a sand pit several years after the injury "occurred" then undergo an operation which "successfully" fixed the problem, I believe it is time to get re-evaluated. How dare this guy milk the system and then pass laws limiting my benefits when I'm not the coward that couldn't cut it.

      Comment


      • #4
        just get him re evaluated and let the Drs decide. it's not the man's fault the government is incompetent. you think he should voluntarily give up his pension? tell me who would...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by mallninja View Post
          I would disagree. When you go out on a back injury from falling down a sand pit several years after the injury "occurred" then undergo an operation which "successfully" fixed the problem, I believe it is time to get re-evaluated. How dare this guy milk the system and then pass laws limiting my benefits when I'm not the coward that couldn't cut it.
          in case you didnt notice he had the surgery 7 months prior to his retirement being approved. he hasnt falsified documents or lied to receive these benefits from a work related injury, its what the stated decided to give him base on their rules and findings in his case. unless you know more about him than is presented in this heavily biased article you should not be calling him a coward and saying how dare he receive a pension. also, as stated above, just because he can run does not mean he is not disabled.

          how about this. when you get hurt on the job, just tell them you are not a coward and decline anything they offer you.
          Last edited by luckydog; 06-16-2010, 10:40 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            He is a well connected politician and I live in his district. Every cop in this area has read this article (thanks to Union leaders spreading the word about this loser) and most have the feeling of "I hope he can do push ups cause he's headed back to the academy." The PD he worked for is an extremely para-military organization who recently locked up their appointed chief for DWI only to be over turned over the testimony of a decorated Sgt and PO.

            http://starnewsgroup.com/weekly/2007...8.07_33625.pdf

            http://starnewsgroup.com/weekly/2007...8.07_33652.pdf

            ....and the lawsuit

            http://starnewsgroup.com/weekly/2007...3.07_26721.pdf

            In a state full of political corruption who are constantly attacking cops i say good riddance to this waste of tax payers money. There are many brothers getting screwed by the projected shortfalls of the pension system from crocks like this guy who are soaking it up.

            Comment


            • #7
              best bet for those who go out on disability on a city/state job is to travel out of state.
              they can't touch you there, do what you will, become a powerlifter or a cop all over again (if an agency hires you).
              Take what you can get and run with it.

              Comment


              • #8
                You know it, I know it, Attorneys know it, Judges know it, Doctors know it, Chiropractors know it: back injuries are the hardest ones to prove and the easiest ones to get paid on. A lot of people try migraines, but they usually get caught. Considering his seemingly high level understanding of politics, I'd say it's very possible that...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Carbonfiberfoot View Post
                  You know it, I know it, Attorneys know it, Judges know it, Doctors know it, Chiropractors know it: back injuries are the hardest ones to prove and the easiest ones to get paid on. A lot of people try migraines, but they usually get caught. Considering his seemingly high level understanding of politics, I'd say it's very possible that...
                  Bullcrap. With the advent of MRIs, CTs and EMGs, ortho injuries are easy to prove.

                  If you want to learn about departmental liabilities associated with ortho injuries, take a look at http://lib.post.ca.gov/Publications/Musculo.pdf
                  Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This kind of crap story runs from time to time when the media wants to pick up its readership or attack an individual.

                    What they fail to tell the public is that most law enforcement agencies have a long list of critical physical tasks an officer has to be capable of performing in order to continue holding his job. If he is unable to carry out any one of those tasks, he must be separated. Those tasks might involve dragging a 200 pound (dead weight) person 50 feet;engaging in a prolonged physical altercation; being able to run 100 feet uphill, take cover and fire a weapon; engage in prolonged sitting, walking, crawling or bending, etc.. Tasks can also involve physical dexterity; cardio ability; eyesight; hearing; prolonged exposure to the elements; and even the ability to manipulate small objects with your fingers. The list can be numerous.

                    Permanent limited duty is rarely offered because it often backfires on departments. Limiting injuries occur often and if you put every disabled officer in a light duty job, eventually the majority of your department becomes unfit, leaving with only a limited number of officers available for field work. In a major emergency, you normally strip the office and send everyone in the field. But if your office staff are all on limited duty, you are sunk. Kieth M will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe years ago LAPD used to find an inside job for every officer who was injured badly enough to retire but did not want to. They were big enough that they could find a spot for everyone - gunsmith, property room, communications, transportation, etc. Eventually they became so overloaded with disabled officers that it impaired their operational ability and they had to start forcing retirements and replacing them with fully abled personnel.

                    The rule is pretty simple in most departments. If your work related injury is such that you are unable to perform the full range of physical tasks, you must be separated and are entitled to a disability retirement. Even if it is just one task, you are gone for the good of the agency.

                    Now, as to the pension system being abused - most police retirement systems are created by an act of the legislature and exist as a matter of law. As such, they reflect the collective will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives in the state capitol. Every couple of years these hysterical pension abuse articles cycle around and yet the Legislature never tightens the rules governing disability retirements because when you examine them, there is little abuse, just hysteria. The rules are pretty simple - as long as you are not healed, or routinely performing the physical tasks you were prohibited from doing, you get to keep your pension. These are society's rules. The public has had the opportunity to change them for years and in spite of hysterical article articles like the one quoted above, has chosen not to do so. It really annoys me when officer's play by society's rules and the public complains about it anyway.

                    And another thing - just because you are collecting a disability pension does not mean you and your family must spend the rest of your lives in poverty. Disability pensions before normal retirement age pay far less than a full salary and rarely keep up with the cost of living, making it necessary for an officer to take a second job to make ends meet. An officer who used to work for me went out on a disability pension of $700 in 1980. Back then, $700 was good money, His pension never kept up with the cost of living and today he gets just $1,348 per month. That's only $133 per month above the US Poverty Guidelines for a family of 2 in the US. Here in Southern California, that won't even pay the rent on a two bedroom apartment in a halfway decent part of town. If he wasn't double dipping with a second job, he would be on food stamps. Were he still employed as an officer today, he would be pulling in close to $9,100 per month. Let's see - $1,343 per month disability pension versus $9,100 per month if he could still work. You tell me who got screwed.
                    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                      Permanent limited duty is rarely offered because it often backfires on departments. Limiting injuries occur often and if you put every disabled officer in a light duty job, eventually the majority of your department becomes unfit, leaving with only a limited number of officers available for field work. In a major emergency, you normally strip the office and send everyone in the field. But if your office staff are all on limited duty, you are sunk. Kieth M will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe years ago LAPD used to find an inside job for every officer who was injured badly enough to retire but did not want to. They were big enough that they could find a spot for everyone - gunsmith, property room, communications, transportation, etc. Eventually they became so overloaded with disabled officers that it impaired their operational ability and they had to start forcing retirements and replacing them with fully abled personnel.
                      This is great information. I never even thought about this until now.

                      Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                      Now, as to the pension system being abused - most police retirement systems are created by an act of the legislature and exist as a matter of law. As such, they reflect the collective will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives in the state capitol. Every couple of years these hysterical pension abuse articles cycle around and yet the Legislature never tightens the rules governing disability retirements because when you examine them, there is little abuse, just hysteria. The rules are pretty simple - as long as you are not healed, or routinely performing the physical tasks you were prohibited from doing, you get to keep your pension. These are society's rules. The public has had the opportunity to change them for years and in spite of hysterical article articles like the one quoted above, has chosen not to do so. It really annoys me when officer's play by society's rules and the public complains about it anyway.
                      Lots of political filler...
                      Although pension abuse is probably rare these days, it deeply impacts those it negatively impacts.

                      Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                      Bullcrap. With the advent of MRIs, CTs and EMGs, ortho injuries are easy to prove.

                      If you want to learn about departmental liabilities associated with ortho injuries, take a look at http://lib.post.ca.gov/Publications/Musculo.pdf
                      Easy to prove is less relevant than difficultly to disprove.


                      With that said:
                      Without accurate knowledge of his injury extent, I can't render judgement.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Some numbers:

                        A wounded veteran of the military would recieve far less $
                        even at 100% rating a veteran would recieve far less.

                        Second in my area his 50k a year is almost double what I get paid. I work 48hrs a month in overtime and am still paid way less than this jerk.
                        Any views or opinions presented by this prenomen are solely those of a burlesque author and do not necessarily represent those of a LEA or caementum couturier.

                        nom de plume

                        This is the internet- take all information with a grain of salt. Such could be valid and true or could be typed just for playing devils advocate.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Once again... if you were him what would you do? Voluntarily give it up? The state has not questioned his claim or asked for more evaluations. What is he doing wrong?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ridiculously high cost of living out here is partly the reason for the high pay. I don't think this guy is doing anything wrong; is he supposed to voluntarily give back his pension because he has the ability to work other jobs? He still can't be a cop and he's entitled to his disability pension for the LINE OF DUTY injury. And guys....30 minutes for a 5k and 50 for a 5mi...if that's the fastest you can run.....I'd give him disability just on that - that's ten minutes a mile. If the pension board wants him evaluated go for it, and then live and die by their decision.

                            Personally, I love how every article mentioning police benefits in NJ lately has to bring up the pension fund and how short it is. The reason it's short is because, when the economy was good, these ***clowns voted to violate state law and not provide their required contributions to the pension fund in order to have extra money for their pet projects. I didn't do that, so don't come crying to me that you can't afford what you agreed upon in legally binding arbitration/mediation/contracts.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'd just like to point out that 28 minutes is a terrible time for a 5K. In my opinion, this guy is definitely disabled.
                              "No one can make you feel like a turd without your permission." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

                              Comment

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