UNION COUNTY — Hillside Township Mayor Angela Garretson appointed interim Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman as her municipality’s business administrator on a temporary basis.
Sources say Steinman is negotiating a compensation package well above the $25,000 annual salary set for the position by ordinance with Hillside at the same time he is juggling the thorny political issue of his mayoral pay rate.
While he was City Council President, Steinman authored changes that cut Rahway Mayor Rick Proctor’s salary from $65,000 to $20,809 as part of an effort to drive him out of the job.
Proctor, a former Union County freeholder was accused of trying to get his wife a six-figure job as the city’s health officer, a move that resulted in an ethics complaint filed with New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs.
The city council voted unanimously to adopt an anti-nepotism ordinance and then overturned Proctor’s veto to outlaw hiring family members.
The sponsor of both the nepotism ban and the salary cut, Steinman was Proctor’s campaign manager the year before and he is expected to face opposition as he seeks the Democratic nomination for a full term in the June 3 primary election.
Council members gave themselves a two percent pay hike not long before they slashed the mayoral salary, prompting Proctor to call them hypocrites. Defending his veto of the anti-nepotism measure, Proctor claimed the law created discriminatory hiring practices in violation of civil service rules that put city taxpayers at risk of legal action.
Steinman was making $9,676 and the other council members were paid $8,043 when they reduced Proctor’s salary from $65,000 to $20,809, a 68 percent pay cut compared with the previous mayor but when Proctor took office, he left a combined salary of $164,881 as Rahway health director, a job he held for nine years, and resigned as a three term county freeholder.
Steinman replaced Proctor as the city’s Democratic Party chair in 2011 and he took over as mayor when Proctor resigned in July.
Steinman has not announced if his running mates will include incumbent council members Nancy Saliga; Sal Mione, a retired county employee; or James Baker, a current county employee.
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