UNION COUNTY – Union County Democratic Chairwoman Charlotte DeFilippo announced that she would retire as executive director of the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA) effective Aug 1 and said she will not seek another term as chairwoman of the political machine.
Thomas H. Neff, director of the Local Finance Board, blasted DeFilippo’s $160,000 a year salary and said similar officials in other counties oversee more employees and complete more substantial projects for less pay.
“She conducts contract negotiations with professionals, she meets with public officials and works extremely long hours,” said Jonathan Williams, an attorney for the authority.
Neff, an appointee of Republican Gov. Chris Christie, said it was reckless for the authority’s board to allow DeFilippo to work from home.
DeFilippo, who uses a wheelchair, was also criticized by Neff for getting 35 vacation days a year.
He called her benefits “unconscionable” and “disgusting,” but DeFilippo said the attack was unfair, that her authority accomplishes a great deal with a small staff, and she wondered if politics was at work.
“I can’t condone election year nonsense, if that’s what this is,” she said. “We do our jobs.”
The UCIA worked to finance and construct the five-story Elizabeth I. Kellogg Union County College building in midtown Elizabeth, the home of the Trinitas School of Nursing.
In Linden, the authority built or remodeled four firehouses and dozens of other projects throughout the county were financed through the agency.
The UCIA’s renewable energy project is underway and will allow Union County municipalities, school boards and divisions of county government to benefit from the installation of state-of-the-art solar energy equipment on their facilities without incurring any costs.
“The Improvement Authority helps to save taxpayer money through low financing rates, and spurs the creation of important public projects and development that might not have otherwise gotten built,” said UCIA Chairman Anthony Scutari. “It’s all about improving the quality of life in Union County, and it happens through the efforts of our Executive Director, Charlotte DeFilippo.”
The resignation from the UCIA is effective in August and her term at the county party is up in June. Democrats enjoyed an unprecedented record of election during the nearly 20 years DeFilippo headed the county party.
No Republican has won a county office since 1994 and the vast majority of local, state and federal offices here are held by Democrats.
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