TRENTON - A close adviser to Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher J. Christie has opted out of the government pension system amid allegations he was pension padding.

John Inglesino had earned pension credits as a part-time political consultant for State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R., Morris). He will keep the job but said in a statement late Friday that he had asked Pennacchio to remove him immediately from the pension system.

Inglesino, a corporate lawyer, would not say yesterday whether he would give up credits he already had earned.

The $3,000-a-year job, the minimum allowing him to accumulate credit toward a pension and benefits, was reported by the Associated Press last week. Inglesino, 46, is more than halfway to accumulating 25 years of service - the threshold to receive lifetime medical benefits.

As a candidate, Christie has railed against part-time political workers in the pension system. On a New Jersey radio show Friday, he said Inglesino was a campaign volunteer and would not call on him to quit. Inglesino said yesterday that he was not on the campaign's payroll.

Christie and Inglesino attended Seton Hall University's law school in the late 1980s, and both served as Morris County freeholders.