As reported by, in what some advocates of open government call an unprecedented overreach, Attorney General Paula Dow has blocked the public from knowing how much overtime State Police troopers and other state law enforcement officials earn. Dow’s rule, which took effect this month, is part of a larger effort by the Attorney General to make confidential any records that “may reveal or lead to information that may reveal” an officer’s assignment.

The measure applies to the State Police and any other law enforcement officers that work under the Department of Law and Public Safety, but not local police departments, said Leland Moore, a spokesman for Dow. But open government advocates said the move by Dow restricts basic financial information, and that the taxpayers of New Jersey have a right to track public spending, including overtime. “Public employees, including law enforcement, have never liked the public knowing how much they make,” said Ron Miskoff of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government. “But the public is paying the freight and I don’t see how knowing someone’s overtime is going to put anyone in danger.”

State records show that troopers earned $25.5 million in overtime last year, and as of September they made $15.7 million. Topping the list was Sergeant Robert Galik, assigned to Turnpike duty, who earned $63,221 in overtime last year. He had made $50,685 through the first nine months of this year, the second highest amount among troopers.

The State Treasury currently makes payroll information available for all state employees, including police, through a website created under Governor Chris Christie’s open government initiative. The website,, billed as Christie’s “Transparency Center,” is updated every three months and is intended to help “taxpayers better understand public finances” and to “make government more accountable.” Moore said the Trasury will comply with Dow’s new rule and no longer post overtime information for police under the Department of Law and Public Safety.

Under the rules, total overtime figures for the department and its divisions will still be available. Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for Dow, said the rule reflected the long-standing position of the Attorney General’s Office. The Department of Corrections said there is no rule like the one imposed by the Attorney General to block overtime data for correctional officers.

Dow’s rule regarding overtime was enacted as part of several measures to make more records confidential, including those that detail background investigations or evaluations for job applicants and those concerning employee discipline, discharges or promotions. Many of the rules, other than the overtime provision, are similar to restrictions on public records under the state open records act. But Miskoff said they went too far in curtailing public access.

Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
Photo of Donald C. Barbati Donald C. Barbati

Donald C. Barbati is a shareholder of Crivelli, Barbati & DeRose, L.L.C. His primary practice revolves around the representation of numerous public employee labor unions in various capacities to include contract negotiation, unfair labor practice litigation, contract grievance arbitration, and other diverse issues…

Donald C. Barbati is a shareholder of Crivelli, Barbati & DeRose, L.L.C. His primary practice revolves around the representation of numerous public employee labor unions in various capacities to include contract negotiation, unfair labor practice litigation, contract grievance arbitration, and other diverse issues litigated before the courts and administrative tribunals throughout the State of New Jersey. In addition, Mr. Barbati also routinely represents individuals in various types of public pension appeals, real estate transactions, and general litigation matters. He is a frequent contributor to the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog, a free legal publication designed to keep New Jersey public safety officers up-to-date and informed about legal issues pertinent to their profession. During his years of practice, Mr. Barbati has established a reputation for achieving favorable results for his clients in a cost-efficient manner.

Mr. Barbati has also handled numerous novel legal issues while representing New Jersey Public Safety Officers. Most notably, he served as lead counsel for the Appellants in the published case In re Rodriguez, 423 N.J. Super. 440 (App. Div. 2011). In that case, Mr. Barbati successfully argued on behalf of the Appellants, thereby overturning the Attorney General’s denial of counsel to two prison guards in a civil rights suit arising from an inmate assault. In the process, the Court clarified the standard to be utilized by the Attorney General in assessing whether a public employee is entitled to legal representation and mandated that reliance must be placed on up-to-date information.

Prior to becoming a practicing attorney, Mr. Barbati served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Linda R. Feinberg, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer Vicinage. During his clerkship Mr. Barbati handled numerous complex and novel substantive and procedural issues arising from complaints in lieu of prerogative writs, orders to show cause, and motion practice. These include appeals from decisions by planning and zoning boards and local government bodies, bidding challenges under the Local Public Contract Law, Open Public Records Act requests, the taking of private property under the eminent domain statute, and election law disputes. In addition, Mr. Barbati, as a certified mediator, mediated many small claims disputes in the Special Civil Part.

Mr. Barbati received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, magna cum laude, from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Upon graduating, Mr. Barbati attended Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware. In 2007, he received his juris doctorate, magna cum laude, graduating in the top five percent of his class. During law school, Mr. Barbati interned for the Honorable Joseph E. Irenas, Senior United States District Court Judge for the District of New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey, assisting on various constitutional, employment, and Third Circuit Court of Appeals litigation, including numerous civil rights, social security, and immigration cases.