Brigantine Salary Raises Run Amok

Potential salary disparity behind Brigantine raises


Raises awarded to nonunion employees in Brigantine were spurred by the possibility of captains making more than the chiefs in both the police and fire departments, according to executive session minutes.

City Council voted 5-2 following an executive session July 20 to lift the salary freeze and give nonunion workers a 3 percent raise — but only for the remaining five months of the year and not retroactively, meaning they actually would get a 1.25 percent raise for 2011.

The employees affected include the chiefs and other department heads such as the clerk, construction officer, chief financial officer and acting city manager.

“The police and fire chiefs in their contracts are able to get as an increase whatever the increase is for the bargaining unit they supervise,” said Mayor Phil Guenther, who added that department heads do pay more toward benefits.

According to executive session minutes from July 20, City Council discussed the salary disparity or potential for disparity with Police Chief John Stone and Fire Chief John Frugoli. The minutes state that with overtime, police Capt. Raymond Cox would make an estimated $2,400 more than the chief, whose annual salary was listed as $131,571 in 2010.

After discussing whether to raise Stone’s and Frugoli’s salaries, the minutes state, now-retired City Manager Jim Barber “stated and Councilman (Sam) Storino concurred that if the chiefs were to receive a raise, then council better be prepared to give all noncontractual employees a raise.”

Barber had said at a previous meeting, according to minutes from June 15, that he had heard the nonunion employees were talking about forming a union.

The vote — in which Councilmen Ken Schaffer and Frank Kern voted no — took place in public following the closed session, but most of the public had gone home, Councilman Tony Pullella said. At the Aug. 3 meeting, Pullella asked that the general purpose of executive sessions should be listed on agendas.

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