Managers getting pay hikes


It’s been more than three years since key non-union administrative municipal employees in Kearny last saw more cash in their pockets.

But now their patience is being rewarded.

On May 23, the mayor and Town Council voted for the introduction of an ordinance amending exempt employees’ salaries by providing yearly pay raises covering 2015, 2016 and 2017, of 1.5%, 1.75% and 1.75%, respectively. The ordinance will get a public hearing June 13 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall council chambers.

And in Harrison, meanwhile, the town governing body on May 25 introduced an ordinance, also subject to public hearing (no date set), to sweeten the pot for Police Chief Derek Kearns. More about that a bit later.

A total of 17 positions are covered by the Kearny ordinance, although one – water superintendent – was discontinued in early 2015 after its occupant, Richard Ferraioli, retired.

Ferraioli will be eligible for a pro-rated portion of the first-year increase, because he was still on the municipal payroll for January and February 2015, according to Mayor Alberto Santos.

Similarly, Michael Martello, who served as combination town administrator/construction code official/zoning officer until retiring earlier this year, will share in the proceeds, as will Kim Bennett, the former principal personnel technician, who also retired. Her spot has been filled by Paula Cavalier, appointed as a “confidential aide.” And former health officer John Sarnas retired in 2014 with a pay rate of $130,012.

In 2014, the town’s exempt employees were awarded annual increases of 1%, 1.4% and 1.35%, for 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively.

By the end of that period, the maximum base pay for each of those positions will rise between the amount fixed for 2014 (or the appropriate start date for a new employee) and the end of 2017 (or appropriate end date) as follows:

   • Chief Financial Officer, $112,313 to $118,023.

   • Construction Officer/Zoning Officer, $114,231 to $120,038.

   • Deputy Town Clerk, $72,704 to $76,400.

   • Fire Chief, $167,507 to $176,022.

   • Mayor’s Aide, $37.85 per hour to $39.77 per hour.

   • UEZ Department Head, $24,831 to $26.093.

   • Police Chief, $173,133 to $181,934.

   • Principal Personnel Technician, $79,642 to $83,691.

   • Public Works Superintendent, $99,768 to $104,840.

   • Tax Assessor, $99,755 to $104,826.

   • Tax Collector, $34,767 to $36,534.

   • Town Administrator (part-time), $31,606 to $33,213

   • Town Administrator (full-time), $125,000 (for 2017).

   • Town Clerk, $80,635 to $84,734.

   • Town Treasurer, $72,859 to $76,563.

   • Health Officer, $100,993 (for 2015) to $104,558 (for 2017).

   • Confidential Aide, $67,370 (for 2016) to $68,549 (for 2017).

Town CFO Shuaib Firozvi said that with the exception of the town assessor, all current exempt employees are at the top of their salary guides. John Peneda, who functions in a dual role as assessor and as UEZ coordinator, will reach step 5 (of six steps) as assessor July 1, which will bring his pay level to $95,089, according to Firozvi.

The town has previously completed negotiations with its union employee groups.

Back to Harrison: On the heels of implementing, earlier this year, a new 12-hour shift schedule for municipal police officers, the mayor and Town Council had awarded a 12% pay raise for all cops below the rank of chief for 2017, along with a 10% pay differential between ranks.

The ordinance states that, “Applying these parameters to the Chief of Police, there is hereby established a new salary schedule for [the police chief] as follows: 2016 — $165,053 (0%); 2017 — $184,859 (12%); 2018 — $184,859 (0%); 2010—10% more than the next highest rank below Chief of Police.”

As per the ordinance, the chief is to receive 39 vacation days for 2017, 39 vacation days for 2018 and 29 vacation days for 2019; he’ll get three personal (10-hour) days for 2017, three personal (10-hour) days for 2018 and two personal (8-hour) days for 2019.

As of Jan. 1, 2017, any payout for accumulated sick days “shall be capped at $15,000.

A companion ordinance, also introduced May 25, would re-set maximum pay “for all employees serving in a department head title (excepting police chief) before 12/31/2017” to $141,982 as of 2016 and $144,822 in 2017.

Those department heads not at maximum salary “shall receive the same percentage salary increases as the Civil Service Association members. Time served by an employee in any department head title … shall be credited toward maximum salary.”

Additionally, the ordinance provides that employees “commencing service in a department head title after Jan. 1, 2018,” must work 12 years to reach maximum pay, now set at $120,077. Minimum pay is set at $75,000.  

Only those serving as department heads “before Jan. 1, 2016,” will continue getting longevity pay. Those serving “before Dec. 31, 2017” will get longevity pay until they reach maximum, at which time they’ll be cut off.

Harrison will “eliminate paid health insurance for retirees and their dependents” for employees appointed department heads after Jan. 1, 2016, “when the retiree and his/her spouse/partner reaches Medicare age, except that such employee shall continue in the paid health insurance program that he/she was entitled to as an employee of the town as of the date becoming a department head.”

Only department heads serving before Jan. 1, 2016 (namely, construction official/municipal engineer, municipal clerk, CFO, DPW superintendent, tax collector and health & human services director) will continue to be eligible for holiday and continuing education pay.


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