Brigantine City Council, how much longer must taxpayers wait? Expired government union contracts. By Anne Phillips, Brigantine Taxpayers Association.
In the pamphlet on the 2015 municipal budget, the newly-appointed municipal auditor lists under “Items for Consideration – Contracts: Police expired 12/31/2012 and fire expired 12/31/13. These two represent $8,470,000 in salaries. These need to be resolved.” He repeated the same admonition at the Council meeting.
We have taken the same position in the past and support the auditor’s recommendation. Members of the above two departments are working under the expired contracts, receiving the contractual compensation approved by prior administrations at least five years ago. We taxpayers are still paying the bill for the City’s excessive generosity in these contracts. These costs are included in the 2015 municipal budget which determines the municipal tax rate.
Negotiations have been dragging on for years. There appears to be resistance by the unions to comprehend and adapt to the new reality of today’s tighter economic conditions which make change necessary and prudent. Existing contractual compensation is not sustainable and efficient.
During the 2014 election campaign those now in control of Council claimed they would, “take a bold stand against government spending and escalating public contracts”. They need to follow-through on this commitment.
Regarding these contracts, we request the Council to cite the law supposedly preventing public disclosure before voting on them. Taxpayers have the right to know what it will cost them before it’s a done deal.
The days of business as usual in City Hall are over. Contracts must reflect today’s economy and opportunities for increased efficiency.
Anne Phillips, Brigantine Taxpayers Association.