UNION COUNTY—Two candidates for mayor in neighboring communities have joined together to call for a $95,000 salary cap for all municipal employees.
Linden Councilman Derek Armstead and former Rahway Housing Authority Commissioner Renee Thrash say city employees deserve fair wages, but nobody should be paid more than $95,000 for public service in this difficult economy.
“When residents are earning an average of $35,000 and families are getting by on a typical income of $50,000, it is outrageous that these same taxpayers are funding a $296,000 paycheck for Peter Pellisier, who is the Rahway city administrator and redevelopment director,” said Thrash.
Armstead and Thrash are running for mayor on the ‘Democrats for Change’ slate in Column B for the June 8 primary election against challengers allied with the ‘Regular Political Organization of Union County.’
Unlike the ‘Democrats for Change’ candidates, both ‘Regular Political Organization’ contenders have essentially endorsed more of the same municipal salary structure in place today, where at least 100 Linden city employees earn more than $100,000 and another 50 people are paid six-figure salaries in Rahway.
Armstead noted that Monmouth County Assemblyman Dave Rible has proposed legislation that would rein in the excessive salaries paid to school administrators by capping those wages at $136,000, which is $5,000 less than the $141,000 earned by the state education commissioner.
Freeholder Rick Proctor, the Rahway health department official who is running against Thrash, receives a total tax-funded salary of $157,000, or 12 percent more than the state commissioner of Health and Human Services.
“Police chiefs in Rahway and Linden earn more than the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police or Attorney General,” said Armstead.
“A brigadier general with over 40 years in the US military or a rear admiral with the same experience would make less than Rahway Police Chief John Rodger, who receives a $164,000 salary, and Linden Police Chief Michael Boyle, who is paid $157,000,” said Armstead.
“If the head of the State Police can make it on $132,300 then the top cops on our local police forces should be able to live comfortably on $95,000,” said Thrash, who added: “Putting a lid on greed is sound public policy.”
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