Civic JC is taking aim at Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop over political allies who are also employed by the Hudson County government, pointing out that he was against double dipping when he was the Ward E councilman.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
In documents obtained via Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests, Civic JC notes that two council members who ran on Fulop’s council ticket last year receive county salaries.
Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley earns a salary of $85,000 from the city, as well as being compensated $62,000 for being a confidential assistant with the county register’s office.
In a file up OPRA about Ridley’s job description and responsibilities, Wintner shared this reply with HCV.
“In response to your below OPRA request, please be advised that New Jersey Civil Services does not have job descriptions for the titles Confidential Assistant or Confidential Aide. The County of Hudson does not maintain separate job descriptions for these titles or the job duties performed under these titles.”
It’s not unusual for Jersey City council members to have second jobs with the county, especially prior to the 2019 raises that upped their compensation to $60,000.
At-Large council members Daniel Rivera and Amy DeGise both work for the Hudson County Schools of Technology and accepted the latest raises from March – bringing their municipal salaries to $85,000.
Ward E Councilman James Solomon, who did not accept the latest raises, also works as an adjunct professor at Hudson County Community College.
Additionally, Business Administrator John Metro is paid $190,000 annually by the city, as well as receiving $8,783 as a secretary to the county insurance fund. He also receives $7,450 as an aide to the Hudson County Board of Commissioners.
Civic JC President Esther Wintner points out that this is opposite of when then-Councilman Fulop asked then-Mayor Jerramiah Healy to have his BA, John Kelly, removed from the post for taking a second job in Orange back in 2010.
Furthermore, Fulop’s chief of staff John Minella, a former executive director of the Hudson County Dems, earns $175,000 from the city.
He is also on the county payroll twice, as member of the board of elections for $22,914 and aide to the board of commissioners for $6,700, according to public records.
“Civic JC believes the public deserves to hear from Mayor Fulop as to why he would betray them on his promise by continuing an ugly tradition of Hudson County politics and to stand by the principles he peddled,” Wintner concluded.
City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said that while the mayor thinks municipal employees should be fully committed to City Hall, that is not legally enforceable.
“The mayor still believes that working for the city should be the primary job for everyone employed there, but that isn’t always possible and the mayor does not control that legally. The courts ruled that a city couldn’t restrict people from having different sources of income as long as it is legal and disclosed under the current Faulkner Act system of government,” she said.
“With that in mind, the best we can ask for is transparency to the public and all of the 7 council people that work in the public sector were transparent about their backgrounds during the campaign and subsequently elected by the public knowing their background and their occupations. I’m sure if the voters wanted to change the council members they would have, but they chose to re-elect them knowing this information, so I’m not sure this is new information.”