The Jersey City Council has given the initial okay for legislation that would raise the salaries of the mayor and city council, which would also create salary ranges for several high-ranking, non-elected officials.
By Corey McDonald/Hudson County View
An ordinance, introduced by the council on Thursday, would increase the base salary of the eight council members from $22,500 to $50,000, while the council president (currently Rolando Lavarro) would see his or her base salary increase to $55,000.
Additionally, by January 2021, council members would be making $60,000 a year.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Lavarro said. “I view the council job as a full-time position, and this ordinance better reflects that idea.”
Mayor Steven Fulop, meanwhile, could see his salary increase by nearly 40 percent if he wins re-election in 2021.
The ordinance would increase the mayor’s salary, which currently stands at just under $110,000, to the base salary for the Hudson County Executive (roughly $150,000) – though it would not go into effect until January 2022.
Meanwhile, the head of certain departments, such as the chief municipal court judge, the chief financial officer, and the business administrator, would see new salary ranges – although salary bumps would be limited to a maximum of 10 percent a year.
“While the Mayor himself is not taking a salary increase at this time, he does believe that fair compensation, in line with other cities of similar size, is important for Jersey City to attract talent,” city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said, citing a compensation parity study “conducted to comparable positions in other New Jersey cities similar to us.”
“The findings showed that even though Jersey City is among the largest in the state, other equivalent and even smaller cities are paying these positions much more. Ultimately, salaries are a large component to attract and retain the talent needed in our leadership positions. Itâ€™s important to have qualified leadership in decision-making roles to continue to move our city forward.”
The plan was reintroduced after being shelved earlier this year. The council did not have unanimous support for the legislation, nor did it have support from the mayor back in May.
The plan would need to be approved in a second reading at the next council meeting, but it would not take effect until January.
A salary adjustment has not been made since 2005.
Follow Corey McDonald on Twitter @cwmcdonald_