Brigantine Taxpayers Association Asks Council: How Much Longer for New Union Contracts?

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.

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1 thought on “Brigantine Taxpayers Association Asks Council: How Much Longer for New Union Contracts?”

  1. William Kuchinsky

    Hello, my name is William Kuchinsky. My wife Joanne and I own Sea Tot’s Early learning Center. Sea Tot’s has been in business since 1991. In July, the intern superintendent for Brigantine Schools, came to Joanne to discuss her plans to offer full-day preschool for three and four year olds. Supert. Capelluti informed Joanne that she was applying for a state grant to pay for the program but really didn’t care if she had a preschool. Capelluti offered to send the three year old students to Sea Tots, however we would have to limit enrollment to fifteen children with no guarantees on the number she would send. Sea Tots would also be required to hire certified teachers and offer salaries and benefits comparable to North School. Our hours of operation would also have to be the same as North School. That would leave the working parents of Brigantine without any daycare before or after school hours, school holidays, snow days, teacher conventions, and summer time. Sea Tots operates from 7:30 to 5:30 Mon-Fri. all year long. We are the only service in Brigantine for working parents. The state grant Capelluti applied for is good for one year. She used our business name, without our permission, on the application implying that she was partnering with Seatots. The state grant requires a preschool enrollment of almost sixty children. We’ve been told she intends to bus preschoolers from the Atlantic City Headstart Program, as they have a big waiting list for their own schools. The reason I want to inform the Taxpayers Association about this as we all know, Brigantine North School is already a top heavy, bloated salary money hole. This island has a private school enrollment with a huge base of taxpayers who don’t use North School. The educational ratings for North School are poor and the teacher ratings are worse. When the state funding for this program dries up guess who’s going to pay. The taxpayers. The School Boards all for this program and voting on everything closed to the public. As advertised in the Brigantine Times there will be an informational meeting on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 6pm in the Elementary cafetorium. Parents are very upset about losing the daycare service Sea Tots offer and social media sites are filled a million rumors about the hole thing. I attended a second meeting with Capelluti at North School with my wife. We left thinking what a scam.

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