Currently, Mayor Alberto Santos and Town Council members Carol Jean Doyle, Susan McCurrie, Michael Landy and Eileen Eckel – all of whom all have a second public sector job – and Albino Cardoso, newly retired from private sector employment, receive health coverage through the town.
Council members Richard Konopka, elected in 2013, receives health benefits through his job with the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission while Jonathan Giordano, a local businessman elected in 2014, and Marytrine DeCastro, a private sector employee appointed to fill a vacancy in February 2015, get no benefits through the town.
Konopka works as a maintenance supervisor with the PVSC where he earns $108,000. Giordano is a self-employed cabinet maker and DeCastro is a privately employed contract nurse.
Santos said that while he and the five council members now covered would be “grandfathered” in under the old law, the town didn’t want to create the possibility of a “second tier” of elective official who, the state has concluded, is not eligible for state health benefits coverage.
Santos, McCurrie and Coyle all have jobs with Hudson County: As clerk to the Board of Freeholders, Santos makes $86,521; McCurrie collects $80,847 as an attorney with the county Law Department; and Doyle earns $35,607 as a records support specialist with the county’s risk management office.
Landy and Eckel are both public school educators: Landy gets $131,626 as principal of the Washington Middle School in Harrison and Eckel receives $78,010 as a middle school educator in Fair Lawn.
The Observer was unable to learn how much Kearny pays to provide health coverage to its elected officials.
CFO Shuaib Firozvi said the town is currently paying about $10.9 million in health insurance fees – about 14% of the municipal budget – to cover 254 active municipal employees and 301 retirees, while employees contribute about $1.2 million toward that cost.
Additionally, the town pays about $40,000 to those employees who “opt out” because they are covered under another plan, he said.
– Ron Leir