Category Archives: salary and compensation

>Ordinance 2011-3027 And When Is A Salary Freeze, Not A Salary Freeze Explained: UPDATE

>Earlier today I was contacted by Middletown Township Clerk Heidi Brunt in reference to yesterdays’ blog post, I wasn’t available when first contacted, but I called her back around 4:30 this afternoon.

Ms. Brunt, after reading about my experience trying to get information pertaining to the proposed salary ordinance 2011-3027 (that was to be re-introduced at tonight’s Township Committee meeting) via an OPRA request. She wanted to apologise and clear the air about any misunderstanding that may have arisen from it. Clerk Brunt informed me that there was indeed a list of employees with job title and salaries available to me for the year 2009. She stated that if she had been in the office when I stopped by on Friday she would have presented me with what I requested.

After speaking with her and telling her exactly what I was after she said it was no problem, she requested me to send her an email so that she would have a record of my request. As soon as I sent her the email, with in minutes, she sent me a list for all township employees, their job positions and salaries for the year 2009 (even though I requested 2010). Ms. Brunt stated that to her knowledge, the salaries contained in this document had not changed.

While on the phone with Clerk Brunt, she did volunteer a small bit of information to me. Ms. Brunt mentioned that Tax Assessor Charles Heck and herself were due a 2.5% statutory salary increase for 2011. She informed me that, she, herself, had no intention accepting the raise and as a matter of fact had already turned it down. Her feelings were such that she in good conscience could not accept a raise while others were losing their jobs. She could not say the same of Tax Assessor Heck, who, she believes has not turned down the raise and is planning on accepting it.

Aftyer hanging up with Clerk Brunt it accured to me that I did not follow-up with her about Heck’s $15,000 “bonus” that was part of the ordinance. That is something that needs to be cleared up.

Heck received a salary of $108,572 from Middletown in 2009 which means he is due for an increase of $2714 in base pay increase if he accepts the 2.5% raise. A far cry less than the $15K “bonus” proposed in the ordinance, but which is no less disturbing.

Thank you Clerk Brunt for contacting me and clearing this up!

BTW – as a side note, it accured to me while looking at the list of employees and salaries, that this list doesn’t reflect the employees that retired or were laid off last year (2010), which isn’t a problem. Where the problem lays (and it really isn’t a problem, I just want to point it out) is that last year members of the Police Department were given a retro-active raise of 8% to cover salary increase for 2008 & 2009 in exchange for a 0% raise in 2010 (Gerry Scharfenberger was very proud of this), so I need to add 8% to the base of all members of the Police Department to get an accurate gage for 2011 salaries, which should not be misconstrued to be a jab at the Police.

I believe that the police have a very difficult job and at anytime during the day or night are putting their life on the line to protect other and uphold the law. One never knows when their next traffic stop or domestic dispute call will be their last.

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Filed under bonuses, Charles Heck, Heidi Brunt, OPRA requests, resolutions and ordinances, salary and compensation, salary freeze, Township Clerk, update

>What’s The Big Deal At Brookdale ?

>Evidently it is the salary and perks that the community college of Monmouth County is giving it’s School President Peter Burnham.

Burnham’s total compensation package for leading Brookdale over the past 20 years is roughly $300K a year. He currently receives a $1,500 monthly housing allowance, drives a 2010 Ford Expedition that the college purchased for $42,815,is provided with a membership to the Navisink Country Club, and can be reimbursed $20K per year to send his kids to private colleges on top of a $216K base salary.

That’s not to shabby if you ask me, but am I surprised or outraged at hearing the news? No, not really. His compensation doesn’t seem that far off from what other college presidents receive throughout the state or country.

College Presidents, like school district superintendents, are a special breed that are highly sort after. Someone like Peter Burnham, who has presided over an institution for 20 years and has oversaw it’s large expansion during that time while maintaining it’s academic level, which by the way, is considered far more superior than many other colleges in the state, probably deserves much of what he receives in compensation.

The only reason why Burnham’s compensation has come to light and has now been scrutinized is because he had the gaul to blame the Monmouth County Freeholders for a 8% hike in tuition which was planned for, but now rescinded under pressure, for the coming year.

Burnham embarrassed the Freeholder Board with his comments, so in retaliation Freeholder John Curly released information on Burnham’s salary and perks to embarrass Peter Burnham and Brookdale’s Board of Directors in return so that he could cover his ass and those of his colleagues on the Freeholder Board. After all, it is the Freeholder Board that appoints
Brookdale’s trustees and should have been overseeing/approving contracts for Burnham over the years. If his compensation wasn’t considered outrageous previously, why is it now? Politics, that’s why.

This was an underhanded and despicable move by Curly, to score political points and encourage others to voice outrage against Brookdale and Burnham, which it has. News out today is that Governor Christie will now be focusing his attention on Burnham’s employment contract and those of other public college presidents around the state.

Now, before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I am writing this because I support tuition hikes on students or think that it is appropriate that Peter Burnham receives such generous perks, I do not. I feel that before any costs are passed on to students in the form of tuition or fee hikes, all attempts to reduce costs should be made first.

I’m a big believer in honoring contracts that were negotiated in good faith, as it seems that Burnham’s was. If John Curly or other members of the Freeholder Board had a problem with Burnham’s contract previously they should have spoken before now, to claim ignorance of it is skirting their own responsiblity over it.

That said, it seems that regardless of the method used to achieve the means, it happens to be good news for those who attend Brookdale, the cost of their continuing education will not be rising next year.

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Filed under Brookdale Community College, budget cuts, Freeholder John Curly, Peter Burnham, salary and compensation, tuition hike