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Saturday, July 1, 2017

An Injury to All

Governor Chris Christie (R) has issued an Executive Order closing the NJ Division of Workers' Compensation. Christie, who is the most unpopular Governor in the US, with a 15% approval rating, has decided now, in his remaining few months in office, to get into yet another political squabble with the Democratic legislative majority.

The action of closing the NJ Division of Workers' Compensation office defeats the attempt to improve the system. At a recent NJ State Bar Association meeting in May 2017 the Chief Judge and Director, Hon. Russell Wojtenko, Jr., described that it was his goal to reduce the disposition rate of the pending caseload to at least 24 months. This is a noble goal and one that would benefit all involved in the system, including employers, injured workers, workers' compensation hearing officials, as well as all stakeholders. 

Closing the Division of Workers' Compensation offices does not benefit anyone. Everyone suffers, even those who are working in the administration such as Director Wojtenko, as they struggle during a difficult time to greatly improve the system.

Hurting people and businesses should not be a political tactic (#beachgate). It is enough that the Christie administration closed the George Washington Bridge because of political motivation. Choosing to close the NJ Division of Workers' Compensation because of a political argument only hurts all citizens and business of the State of New Jersey.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). 

For over 4 decades the
Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.