Paterson NJ city officials could get a pay raise

PATERSON — In a 5-2 vote, City Council gave preliminary approval to a plan that could raise the salaries of senior city officials in Paterson — including a potential 18% increase that would take the mayor’s salary to 140 $000.

The council added an “opt-out” clause to the pay ordinance that would allow the mayor and council members to opt out of raises. The city has scheduled a public hearing on the plan for June 28, when council is due to take its final vote on the measure.

Mayor Andre Sayegh attended the council meeting – something he doesn’t do regularly – to urge city lawmakers to support the salary proposal. The mayor and supporters of the raise said Paterson needed to be able to offer higher pay to top administrators to retain and recruit highly qualified people. He said Paterson’s salaries were lower than those in other major cities in New Jersey.

“These salary adjustments are long overdue,” Sayegh said.

Council members Al Abdelaziz, Shahin Khalique, Flavio Rivera and Luis Velez and council chairwoman Maritza Davila voted in favour. Opposite were Michael Jackson and Lilisa Mimms. Two board members who expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed increases – Ruby Cotton and Alex Mendez – were absent.

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Abdelaziz noted that Sayegh was asking for the revised wages ordinance after townspeople showed their support by re-electing him last month by a wide margin.

“Like it or not, they elected this mayor,” the councilman said. “They voted to trust him and they voted for him to form a Cabinet.”

Davila pointed out that for unelected directors, the order would simply set ranges with higher maximum amounts. She said it would be up to the mayor to decide how much money within those ranges his department heads would be paid.

But Jackson predicted Sayegh’s appointees would receive the highest salaries in the brackets.

Drone image of Paterson City Hall on March 26, 2020. New Jersey residents have been asked to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you give this administration money, they’re going to spend it,” he said.

The salary of board members would increase by 15%, from $41,213 to $47,395, and the salary of the chairman of the board would increase from $42,213 to $50,395.

The salary range for the general counsel position, which currently pays $122,000, would be $140,000 to $160,000. The corporate administrator position, which now pays $110,000, would get $110,000 to $160,000.

The City Clerk, Tax Assessor, Collector, Director of Community Development and Director of Health and Human Services would receive a maximum salary of $130,000

Directors of economic development, public safety and public works would receive a maximum of $140,000. The top salary for the CFO would be $160,000.

Joe Malinconico is editor of Paterson Press.

Email: [email protected]

William M. Mayer