Hoboken Councilwoman Fisher Opposes Salary Increase Ordinance

The Hoboken City Council meets virtually tonight at 7 o’clock, two days earlier than normal due to this week’s New Jersey League of Municipalities Convention, which gets underway on Tuesday in Atlantic City.  Among the items on tonight’s agenda is an ordinance which would raise salaries for the Mayor, City Council members and numerous directors and city hall employees.

2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, in her latest newsletter, comes out against the ordinance, saying it will ultimately play a role in raising taxes by .6%.  Here is a portion of the Councilwoman’s newsletter where she explains her objection to the proposed salary increase ordinance:

“What is being proposed is increasing salaries and / or the maximum salary allowed by an average of 20%.  This is coming at a time when close to 500 Hoboken city employees have been without a contract for four years, meaning no cost of living increases during that time.  Here is what is being proposed:
Electeds – salaries to change if approved:
  • Mayor: to $130K, up 13K or 11.2%
  • City Council Member: to $35k, up 11k or 45%
  • CC President: to $40K, up 13.5K or 51%
  • CC Vice President: to 37.5K, up 13.4K or 55.4%
Directors – increase to maximum salaries allowed, if approved:
  • Business Administrator: $199K, up $37K or 23%
  • Dir., Community Development: $170K, up $32.5 or 24%
  • Dir., Health & Human Services:  same
  • Dir., Transportation & Parking: same
  • Dir., Environmental Svcs: same
  • Dir., Finance: same
  • Dir., Public Safety: same – NOTE: This position doesn’t currently exist but I understand the mayor may be considering adding this role.
Select employees – increase to maximum salaries, if approved:
  • Deputy Municipal Department:  $115K, NOTE: this is the new role created for Councilwoman Falco that didn’t previously exist.  The publicly stated offer is for $87.5K, but this gives room for to increase.
  • Chief Financial Officer: $142.4K, up 10K or 7.6%
  • Comptroller: $132K, up 10K or 8.2%
  • Payroll Supervisor: $87.6K, up 8K or 10.1%
  • Tax Collector: $141.9K, up 8K or 6%
Effectively what this does is gives the mayor carte blanche to increase these salaries which, when aggregated, would be an additional $346K or equate to a .6% tax increase to cover.  I understand that the rationale may be to be competitive in the event one of these employees wants to leave, but we have been given no specific information on this and isn’t a better approach to address that as and when?  If we believe an employee needs this big of an increase to stay, it may be worth doing a search for the roles given their importance to the city.
The City Council has taken measures to REDUCE salary costs in the past: in 2020, the City Council approved a 10% reduction in salaries for this same group of electeds and directors for all of 2020 as a way to contribute towards reducing the tax burden on residents at a time when we were facing unprecedented high tax increases.  I would like to see this ordinance tabled at least until the remaining city employee contracts are settled and to have the different components justified and broken out for separate votes. I would vote no for the electeds salary increases.  And overall right now as presented, will vote ‘no’ on this ordinance tonight. “