Money Losing Brigantine Golf Links, Salaries & Longevity Pay 2020

Avoiding Independent Municipal Auditor

The Brigantine Taxpayers Association recently shared the latest salary charts for city employees. Some highlights:

Even though Brigantine City Council voted to end longevity pay a few years ago, long-term employees are still receiving longevity bonus cash.

After all these years, Brigantine is still handing out longevity pay.

Longevity pay comes in the form of bonuses to employees for continued employment with a public entity. The longer an employee works, the larger the longevity bonus is.

Back in 2013, Brigantine City Council voted to STOP doling out longevity payments. These are payments given to employees…for just showing up to work.

The Brigantine Taxpayers Association says: even though it was voted OUT in 2013…..longevity pay was still paid in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019…. in violation of the city’s own ordinance.

Brigantine taxpayers provide platinum healthcare for most employees. Approx $15,000 per year for a single employee, and $39,000 per year to cover a family. This includes prescription, eye & dental.

Brigantine Revolving Door Boosting Pensions

On Jan 22, it was announced that another Brigantine department head will soon retire, less than 2 years after being promoted.

Brigantine residents asking why city allows this expensive revolving door? Employee is knowingly promoted to top position, even though it’s likely they’ll retire in less than 2 years?

This practice allows employee to receive bigger pension, once retired. Retiring Brigantine employee also receives so-called ‘boat check’: Often a 6-figure payout for unused sick & vacation time.

At last count, Brigantine taxpayers are contributing to pensions for approx 12 ex-chiefs.

Money Losing Links at Brigantine Golf

According to the recent Brigantine budget, taxpayers are now subsidizing the money-losing golf course by at least $200,000 per year.

Councilperson Bew

Councilperson Karen Bew. She’s a member of the Brigantine Women’s Golf Association and the Brigantine Golf Course Committee.

According to former Brigantine Mayor, Phil Guenther, the Links Golf course was supposed to be self-sustaining. Recently, Mayor Simpson & Councilman Sera have tried to walk that statement back – ‘the course will never cost the taxpayers a single penny.’

LISTEN > Brigantine Links Golf Financials. From March 2016

Hiding ugly truth about Brigantine Links Golf Course. It will no longer be broken out with a separate profit/loss statement. This will further obscure / hide expenses associated with this 18-hole asset that’s primarily used as a private course for Brigantine insiders. It’s poorly marketed too.

Brigantine Mayor and Council don’t want objective financial audit.

Brigantine Municipal Auditor. Same one, year after year. Think they’re gonna catch something wrong? Atlantic County Exec Denny Levinson recommends changing auditors every 3 years. Brigantine disagrees.

Brigantine residents are not getting an objective, 3rd party review of municipal finance and management. City needs auditor rotation.

Taxes. Yes, they’re ticking down a bit each year. But not purely due to better fiscal management. Rather, many believe it’s due to the amount of new construction that brings larger property tax assessments. Add to that: inflated, inaccurate assessments that have disproportional, negative effect on 2nd homeowners.

Current administration benefits when majority of taxpayers don’t vote in Brigantine. 75% of Brigantine homeowners have no representation or leverage when addressing City Council.

SEE > 2019 Brigantine Employee Salary and Compensation.

Former Brigantine Mayor Phil Guenther & City Manager Jim Barber were directly responsible for decades of un-sustainable contracts and compensation packages. Both were quite comfortable spending other peoples money.

January-22-2020-agenda

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3 thoughts on “Money Losing Brigantine Golf Links, Salaries & Longevity Pay 2020”

  1. Michael G Miller

    Very negative piece. Yes, things could be better. But the wrong assumptions inform these arguments.

    Platinum insurance is just good insurance for city employees. 200k on a golf course to employ lots of residents with a decent wage and good health care is money well spent. It’s hardly a cabal of power brokers in municipal government, though it certainly could be better marketed, but it provides green space for folks who live on it and positively affects property values, no doubt generating more than 200k in additional tax revenue for the city.

    Spending other people’s money is what lawmakers are hired to do. There is nothing insidious about it. Compared to other NJ shore towns, Brigantine taxes are pretty reasonable.

    1. i agree with the majority of your comment, Michael. There is absolutely insider assistance to players in the game with the same last name as their parents who went through the system first. THAT needs to be fixed.

      The golf course, I don’t know how this is still a complaining point as the course bond was paid off over two years ago and has been self sustaining in that time. There are no local names or ‘legacy’ names working there, so there is no insider work going on there. Not to mention it brings money into the city coffers. Why do people want to complain about that course when the community center doesn’t pull its own weight, even with the few programs they run out of the building. What about the ball fields, or the dog park…those are not self sustaining. As you said, government exists to plan out the best way to spend tax dollars.
      Now, do I absolutely agree there is some scum in the pond that needs to be cleaned out, absolutely. But don’t lump the entirety in with a few bad eggs.

  2. It is one thing to say everyone is entitled to free medical when nearly everyone even hospital employees pay copays of 20% for insurance.
    It is another when Brig is paying almost 100% more for family group plans. I buy group insurance. It costs 22k not 39k a year. Obviously they have a cadillac plan. Why? Other peoples money!!!.That is waisted 1.5m a year..

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