NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Kathryn A. DiCiano, longtime resident of Bellmawr

With pensions on the line, Gov. Christie is booed at N.J. Firemen's Convention in Wildwood

Governor of New Jersey Chris ChristieImage via Wikipedia


WILDWOOD — With thousands of firefighters booing him from the Wildwood Convention Center bleachers Friday, a combative Gov. Chris Christie gestured for more and refused to back down on his plan to reduce pension payments to public employees.

"If you guys think you can shout me down, it's going to be a long day," Christie told the crowd as he stood at the convention center's podium to give his remarks during the first day of the New Jersey State Firemen's Association Convention.

Booing the state's governors has become a tradition for firefighters at the annual convention.

But firefighters had additional incentive Friday, when the governor arrived after 2 p.m. to address them. As part of his plans to reform the state's pension system, Christie has proposed reducing pension payouts by 5 percent to firefighters who retire after 25 years. In order to get 65 percent of their salaries as pension, they would have to work an additional five years. Currently, firefighters can retire after 25 years of service regardless of their age and qualify for 65 percent of their salary as a pension.

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