The legislature is preparing to fast-track a special pension bill that would allow Judge Glenn A. Grant to defer his retirement and remain as administrative director of the New Jersey courts, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner had personally advocated for the bill.
“The chief justice reached out to legislative leaders last month to enlist their assistance,” said Peter McAleer, a spokesman for Rabner. “Thanks to their receptiveness and prompt response, Judge Grant and others in the future would be able to defer their pension and be appointed to serve as administrative director beyond age 70.”
Legislation is expected to move through the lame duck session so that Grant can stay on past his December 29 retirement date and still receive post-retirement health care benefits.
“The chief justice intends to reappoint Judge Grant as director if the legislation passes and is signed by the governor,” McAleer said.
Grant functions essentially as the chief operating officer of the judiciary, a post that makes him the second most powerful person in the court system after the chief justice.
The New Jersey Constitution includes a mandatory retirement age of 70, but Rabner’s waiver of sorts will extend Grant’s tenure in the influential post.
If the legislature approves the bill – and if Gov. Phil Murphy signs it – Rabner will be able to avoid replacing Grant, who is Black, with a white administrative director at a time when white judges occupy 80% of the seats on the appellate court. Still, Rabner could also name another person of color to fill the post.
Grant has served on the Superior Court since 1998 and was serving as presiding judge of the family division in Essex County when Rabner tapped him as acting director of the acting administrative director in 2008.
Rabner had elevated Grant to the appellate court eleven days earlier; by doing so, Grant was able to become acting director at the salary of an appellate judge – now $203,114-per-year, instead of the $192,391 annual salary of a Superior Court judge.
Grant has served as acting director of thirteen years, a common practice that allows the administrative director to hold on to their judgeship while serving in the post. Had he been named permanent director, Grant would no longer have retained his judicial robe.
But Grant will not be eligible to start drawing down on his pension while still serving in the court post. He will retire from the bench.
Prior to Grant, the administrative post was held for four years by Philip Carchman, now the tiebreaker on legislative redistricting. Carchman returned to the bench and served on recall after his 70th birthday. Richard J. Williams held the post before Carchman, also on an acting basis.
Special legislation was approved last year that allowed judges to defer their retirements in order to serve as a county prosecutor.