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Rice Introduces Bill To Strengthen Oversight In Awarding Of Municipal And County Wage Increases

Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-Essex)

TRENTON – Citing the massive State budget deficit, and the Legislature’s passage of new pension laws, along with proposed cuts in county and municipal funding, Senator Ronald L. Rice has introduced legislation which would work to save taxpayer dollars by fixing the salary amounts of municipal and county employees.

“In light of newspaper coverage of the fact that cities are using executive orders to award high salaries and raises to political appointees, some of whom live out-of-state, it is evident that more disclosure and oversight are necessary to ensure that an established procedure is followed when awarding employee salaries,” said Senator Rice, D-Newark. “A significant amount of city funding goes toward paying employee salaries, and to issue them through executive order, without oversight is a wasteful, irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars.”

Senator Rice’s bill would require all salaries, wages and other compensation of administrative department employees to be fixed by the local county freeholder boards and city councils, similar to how city councils vote on civil service raises. Any proposal to increase employee compensation or to set aside compensation for a new employee would be submitted to the board of freeholders or council for approval.

Senator Rice noted that by cutting the amount of funding wasted on exorbitant employee salaries, cities would be better prepared to help make up the deficits brought on by proposed budget cuts. #