Letter to Editor. Brigantine City Manager Contract is a Problem

Dear Editor: City council approved recently an employment contract for the City manager who was appointed by council in 2015.  There are several aspects of this agreement which should be known by, and of interest to, taxpayers, more so than might be expected from such a document.  The Brigantine Taxpayers Association commented on this contract at the April meeting.

Under the City’s council /manager form of government, in which an appointed manager is the chief executive officer of the municipality, NJ state law states, “the manager shall hold office for an indefinite term and may be removed by a majority vote of the council”. This contract, which does include a definite term of office, until 12/31/19, gets around this apparent contradiction of the law by stating, “nothing in this agreement shall prevent, limit or otherwise interfere with the right of the Governing Body to terminate the services of the Employee at any time, subject only to the provisions of state law”. This is an example of interpreting the law for one’s purposes.

The City, the Employer, agrees to increase said base salary of Employee for being the City manager and City engineer ($127,500., retroactive to 1/1/16) and/ or other benefits by 2 %, at a minimum,   annually for the duration of the contract.  Any increase should be based on performance, the City’s financial condition, and any other relevant circumstances. It should not be automatic.  This is not a multi-year public-sector union contract with automatic step increases. It’s a contract for a single, top executive position subject to council’s on-going approval of the person filling it.

We continue to believe that, in all public-sector contracts, there shall not be payment for accrued unused sick and vacation time. We realize that such payments continue to exist in these contracts, contrary to the private-sector. That doesn’t make them right, nor is it right and financially sound to extend them to an individual executive contract.

The City shall not reduce the salary, compensation or other benefits during the term of this agreement unless said benefits are reduced for other municipal employees.  This is another stipulation in this contract tying council’s hands regarding administrative costs within the municipal budget and the salary ordinance for non-union employees. By agreeing to such stipulations, council relinquishes authority and responsibility. And, taxpayers pay more.

Unfortunately, this contract is now effective. Transparency was missing in this process as was public scrutiny since the contract was not available to the public until it was voted upon by council.  Again, as with other personnel contracts, that’s too late.  And, in this case, since it was approved as amended, nothing was available until the amended contract was signed by the mayor, weeks later.

Sincerely,

Brigantine Taxpayers Association

Anne H. Phillips, president

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6 thoughts on “Letter to Editor. Brigantine City Manager Contract is a Problem”

  1. joseph murphy

    You overpay the cops and fireman by 30% .
    Then you have less money to pay for tourism advertising which
    is nil. So guess what, then you ask to tax the rentals to pay
    for the tourism advertising….Maybe in 100 years we will get video replay of
    council meetings…Government for the few…

    1. Over pay? And how did you come up with this number of 30%. The salaries are all on par with the surrounding towns so please explain how you came to your number.

  2. Yes you are correct that why Atlantic City is going bankrupt…the wages and benefits being paid here to municipal employees and teachers will result in the same for Brigantine….Wake Up.
    The nepotism here is so blatant it should no longer be tolerated. The small majority that control the municipality need to be shown the door.. Our taxes are their spending money, to continue to inflate wages and benefits and hire more relatives and friends to make sure the cycle stays intact. As a 16 year home owner my disgust with the people who support the status quo are what drove me to respond, and I hope it inspires more people to speak up..

  3. joseph murphy

    Only In Brigantine!!!
    Our towns tax ratables went from $ 4.6B in value in 2010
    to $ 3.23B in value in 2015.. Look up under Abstract of Atlantic County Ratable online….

    Down 29.78% or $1.35 Billion valuation loss and

    you look at the POLICE where 20 of 33 officers made over $100k in 2014 or 60%
    and the Fire force of 25 of 34 or 74% made over $100k.

    Up till 2015, Brigantine Commissioners signed labor agreements paying top salaries after five years for cops and eight
    years for fire. Nearly all employees getting top salary. This is a lesson in economic stupidity. No business can survive paying 75% top salaries….Nearly free healthcare, a pension and 12 or ex police and fire chiefs in retirement.. As a republican, I have no shame calling mismanagement for what it is..

    .

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