Can Schundler collect unemployment benefits? Unclear.

New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler was fired last week for allegedly lying to his boss, New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie. He lost his job after allegedly misrepresenting a mistake that may have caused the state to lose $400 million in education funds. He told the press — amazingly — that he had opted to be fired instead of resigning because he wanted to collect unemployment benefits.

But that may not be an option — or at least not right away. In response to my inquiries, the New Jersey Department of Labor sent me and a handful of other reporters the following note on Friday night:

As a class of individuals, New Jersey cabinet officials are generally not eligible for unemployment benefits.  The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has previously determined, pursuant to NJSA 43:21-19(i)(1)(D)(iii)(ee), that commissioners of cabinet-level departments are “major non-tenured policy-making or advisory” employees and, accordingly, are ineligible to collect unemployment benefits.

Hours after I got this, the press release containing the information was “retracted.” I left a message asking for clarification, which will hopefully come this week.

Whether or not Schundler’s position makes him ineligible to collect benefits, Christie’s reforms could delay any benefit payout. One of Gov. Christie’s policy reforms was to delay unemployment benefits for those fired for “regular misconduct” for up to five weeks (and to ban them altogether for those fired for “gross misconduct,” although that appears to require the commission of a crime).

I received the retracted press release because I had asked — among other things — whether lying to one’s boss would constitute “misconduct.” That hasn’t been answered yet, either.

Beltway ConfidentialChris ChristienjUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Lakeshore Elementary School was closed in March shortly before SFUSD closed all schools due to coronavirus concerns. The district is now working to prepare all elementary schools to reopen by mid-January.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
School district preparing buildings for hybrid learning

SFUSD plans to use 72 elementary schools and 12 early education sites for first phase of reopening

There have been at least 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among workers at San Francisco International Airport. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supes back SFO worker healthcare legislation despite airline, business opposition

Costs of ‘Health Airport Ordinance’ in dispute, with estimates ranging from $8.4 M to $163 M annually

Thankfully, playgrounds that were closed due to the pandemic during the summer have reopened.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
The perils of parenting, COVID-style

At long last, it’s OK to take your little one out to play

Ten candidates are running for a seat on the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Community College District.. (Courtesy photos)
Strong leadership needed as City College faces multiple crises

Ten candidates vying for four seats on CCSF board

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Most Read