TRENTON, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says a spike in public worker retirements is no surprise as the state wrestles with benefits changes.
Nearly 15,000 public employees in New Jersey are expected to retire by the end of July.
The retirements come as Christie and lawmakers wrangle over changes in pension and health benefits.
The Statehouse Bureau of The Star-Ledger of Newark and The Record newspaper found 20,000 retired last year, a 60 percent increase over 2009 and the highest number in at least a decade.
WCBS 880's Levon Putney With Comment From Gov. Chris Christie
"I'm not disturbed by those announcements," said Gov. Christie Christie on Monday. "I'm hopeful between now and June 30, myself and the legislature, will come to an agreement on pension and health benefit reform that provides reality to a system that is now completely out of whack."
There is just one thing. None of the current reform proposals being discussed would cut the benefits of public workers, who could now retire.
Officials say 144 state troopers also are expected to retire when the fiscal year ends in July. That compares to a yearly average of 61 in the previous decade.
State workers and non-uniformed employees make up most of those turning in their retirement papers.
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