On Oct. 23, City Council members could adopt an ordinance amendment substantially increasing salaries for themselves and city directors.
Under the proposed amendment, introduced unanimously at the Oct. 10 council meeting, council members would see their salaries increase over the next 14 months from their present annual pay of $36,180 to $60,000 except for the council president, whose salary would get an extra $5,000 bump higher than his or her colleagues.
This comes after council members in a Sept. 11 meeting unanimously approved a salary increase for their council aides, permitting one full-time council aide to receive $45,000 per year, or for two part-time aides to receive salaries of $22,500 per year.
The amendment also creates fixed salary ranges for 21 employees in Jersey City’s senior leadership, department directors, and other statutory officers.
The council last approved a raise for council members in 1993, from $15,000 to $22,500 a year, with a provision for cost-of-living increases each year.
Under the ordinance, the council members would immediately get a base salary of $50,000 which would increase to $55,000 by January 2020. By January 2021, the council members would receive another $5,000, bringing their salaries up to a total of $60,000 that year.
The council president would start with $55,000 immediately which would then increase to $60,000 by January 2020 and $65,000 by 2021.
The council members could choose to waive the increase as long as they provide written notice to the director of human resources and business administrator 30 days before the effective dates.
According to the table of fixed salaries, the mayor’s salary is “TBD,” but the ordinance stipulates that effective Jan. 2022 the mayor’s salary shall be increased to the then-existing base salary for the Hudson County Executive, which is set by the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
If this was the case today, that would make Mayor Steven Fulop’s salary the same as Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise who currently makes $163,068, according to the New Jersey Office of Information Technology Data Center.
Heads of departments
Department directors, the city clerk, and the tax assessor would be eligible for pay raises each year of up to 10 percent, pending a performance review done by the business administrator and the director of human resources. In the first year after the adoption of the ordinance that salary increase could be up to 15 percent.
The review would include the effective accomplishment of departmental goals, effective development of leadership skills, and the effective demonstration of organizational, administrative, and strategic competencies.
The business administrator would be reviewed by the mayor or his designee.
According to council documents, the amendments are part of the city’s commitment to modernize its employment practices and policies to be better able to attract competent, engaged, and accountable employees and leaders.
The documents claim this in part requires competitive, market-based compensation for the city’s executive leadership.
“Updated salary ranges for city senior leadership, department directors, and other statutory officers are necessary to ensure the stability of the city and departmental leadership and to provide the leadership necessary to continue to make Jersey City the best and most progressive mid-sized city in the United States,” states the ordinance amendment.