Longtime Ocean County Sheriff William L. Polhemus has collected $929,793 in pension payments since he retired as Seaside Heights police chief back in the 1980s, according to a report by New Jersey Watchdog.
Polhemus, 84, currently receives $165,941 a year — $122,669 in salary plus a $43,272 pension as a retired Seaside Heights police chief, the report states.
"At age 84, Polhemus is the Republican nominee running for a tenth term, the report states. "If he wins, he’ll become a full-fledged, double-dipping pension millionaire."
Polhemus is running against Democrat George "Bob" Armstrong and Independent John McMenamin in the race for Ocean County Sheriff. Polhemus spent 35 years in the Seaside Heights police department.
Both McMenamin and Armstrong also draw pensions as retired law enforcement officers.
McMenamin receives a $90,398 a year tax-free disability pension. McMenamin was injured in a 2006 on-duty accident involving an all-terrain-vehicle as a Stafford Township police officer.
While the state considers him to be "totally and permanently disabled," McMenamin contends his disability would not impair his ability to serve as sheriff, according to New Jersey Watchdog.
"If McMenamin wins, his take from the public trough would go up to $213,067 a year," the report states.
In contrast, Armstrong receives a small state pension of $7,836 a year from his five years of service as an investigator for the State Commission of Investigations and the Division of Criminal Justice.
Armstrong also receives a federal pension as a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. Federal benefits paid to pensioners are not considered public record.
Polhemus turned down a request from the Ocean County League of Women Voters to debate his opponents. He has not returned numerous calls from Berkeley Patch for an election preview interview.
Polhemus and Undersheriff William Sommeling are among 51 county law enforcement officials in New Jersey who still receive salaries while also drawing a pension, according to a report by New Jersey Watchdog.
The investigation found that 17 sheriffs and 34 undersheriffs collectively earn $9.1 million a year "double dipping" — $3.7 million in retirement pay on top of $5.4 million in salaries — while utilizing loopholes under Gov. Chris Christie's pension reforms.