NJ Municipal Salaries Would be Capped Under Legislation [POLL/AUDIO]
New Jersey State Senator Sam Thompson plans to introduce legislation next week that would cap the salaries of employees at local sewerage, utilities and county improvement authorities. The legislation will also end other employee perks funded by public dollars.The legislation is the result of a series of reports Townsquare Media did on the salary and perks of Richard Pucci, executive director of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA) and the mayor of Monroe Township.
Pucci's most recent contract with the authority gives him an annual $210,000 salary and a $400 per month car allowance. He also receives 25 vacation days, 14 holidays, and is entitled to full pension and health benefits, as well as compensation for unused vacation days. Based on his years of service, if Pucci continues working through 2016 under his current contract and then retires, he will be entitled to an annual pension payment that exceeds $150,000 per year.
"There's a lot of justification for it," said Pucci. "I've been there since the beginning. I started it as one employee and now we're over 600 employees so it's not as if I'm a Johnny-come-lately. I've been here since the beginning. I'm a professional. That's my career."
Years of service would not matter under Thompson's bill. His legislation would cap the salaries of employees at local sewerage, utilities and county improvement authorities at the maximum salary for State Cabinet officers, which right now is set by statute at $141,000.
The bill would also bar employees from receiving a car, an allowance toward the purchase or lease of a car, and an expense account. Employees would also be banned from receiving a public payment in lieu of health insurance, if that employee receives health insurance and it prevents annual sick day payouts.
The bill would apply to new contracts.
"This bill is to put a muzzle and leash on piggish public employees who think they can fill their gaping maws with the people's money, because no one knows who they are or what they do," said Thompson. "Newsflash to them: more and more people are starting to realize that you make excessive incomes and are afforded outlandish perks."
Thompson said the legislature must immediately pass this legislation to put an end to the type of indefensible greed that makes New Jersey frustrating for taxpayers. "This legislature has capped school Superintendents' salaries, we've made bipartisan pension and benefits reform to cap annual pension payments so employees such as Mr. Pucci cannot collect pensions that the system cannot support."