Power Play and Political Payback in Brigantine. Wow. That’s quite a sexy title. It’s also how some describe the recent marathon City Council meeting from this past Wed., January 15.
The big news of the evening: a party line vote was taken which funded and paved the way for a potential & permanent public safety director to run the Police, Fire, EMT and Beach Patrol divisions. Republican Councilman Simpson, who voted against the measure, said in a Press of Atlantic City article: he agrees that most of the public safety departments’negotiated salaries are too high to be sustainable. But hiring a public safety director and part-time employees won’t decrease those costs, Simpson said.
The Press of Atlantic City article continues: ‘The only way to cut back is to change the salaries in the labor contracts. If the starting salary was lower and it took longer to reach a $100,000-plus salary’, Simpson said, the strain of labor costs would eventually solve itself. “You need to fix the problem coming through the door,” he said. “They’re just putting a Band-Aid on.”
Also from Press of Atlantic City: Councilman Kern said: “We want chiefs, but we want chiefs we can trust to do the will of the city manager and work smoothly with her”.
Opponents of the Democratic plan note that city manager; Jennifer Blumenthal, still works without a contract. This could make her vulnerable to termination if she were to disappoint those who control her employment. From what we understand, the ability to hire or fire a city manager, could simply lie with a majority vote of City Council, which currently favors the intentions of Democrat members: Pullella, Kern, Delucry, McClay & Piccardi.
During the 5+ hours meeting, Democrat Councilman Kern and other Dems suggested that they were still open to having department chiefs…. but moments later, joined fellow party members to approve the salary ordinance.
Read Full Story from Wallace McKelvey in Press of Atlantic City