He also told an 89-year-old former mayor she'd have to wait until next spring for a rebate she'd been getting for more than a decade in the late summer. And he told a parent that cuts to services, including the local library, are needed because "we are out of money."
A largely friendly crowd of about 150 people turned out in a church gymnasium to hear Christie deliver a half-hour talk that trashed greedy public employee unions and state laws that handcuff local officials trying to control spending.
He then opened the floor to questions. A few were softballs, including the declaration by Clara Nebot of Bergenfield that Christie is "a god" to her relatives in Florida.
But borough teacher Rita Wilson, a Kearny resident, argued that if she were paid $3 an hour for the 30 children in her class, she’d be earning $83,000, and she makes nothing near that.
"You’re getting more than that if you include the cost of your benefits," Christie interrupted.
When Wilson, who has a master’s degree, said she was not being compensated for her education and experience, Christie said:
"Well, you know then that you don’t have to do it." Some in the audience applauded.
Christie said he would not have had to impose cuts to education if the teachers union had agreed to his call for a one-year salary freeze and a 1.5 percent increase in employee benefit contributions.
"Your union said that is the greatest assault on public education in the history of the state," Christie said. "That’s why the union has no credibility, stupid statements like that."