Amid Debate, West Deptford Employees Get 2% Raises
Township committee voted 3-2 to set pay grades higher for most West Deptford employees. The issue caused a debate among committee members.
Some West Deptford employees will see a fatter paycheck in the new year, over objections from two committeemen who said the township can’t afford it.
Township committee voted 3-2 Thursday on an ordinance fixing salary grades at higher levels, amounting to a 2 percent raise for most employees. Mayor Raymond Chintall and Committeeman Samuel Cianfarini voting against the ordinance, as they did in the first reading.
Cianfarini offered statistics to support his vote—such as the fact that one in 192 homes in New Jersey is in danger of foreclosure and that from 2002 to 2012 $1 has inflated by 28 percent. During that same time, he said, salaries in West Deptford had increased by 37 percent—and for that reason he could not vote for the ordinance.
Committeewoman Denice DiCarlo questioned why Cianfarini didn’t discuss the statistics with the committee earlier.
“Giving it now, this late in the game, is just too late,” DiCarlo said.
Reiterating DiCarlo’s point, Committeewoman Donna Szymborski said committee had previously discussed the pay grades.
“We all knew,” Szymborski said. “This is what we all talked about.”
Szymborski later voted for the ordinance, but noted that she wanted pay grades examined more closely in the coming year.
Chintall concluded the committee’s discussion by stating that the “bleeding” in West Deptford has to stop, saying that it would affect the budget and impact future generations in West Deptford.
The salary ordinance also brought discussion from Gloucester City resident John Schmidt, who had previously expressed concern with the township’s regular pay raises.
While he previously inquired about raises for township employees for the last past years, he again asked Township Administrator Eric Campo for the raises in 2007 and 2008—both of which were 4 percent.
Schmidt reminded committee that some towns in Gloucester County had not given a raise to township employees in years.
“That’s a lot,” said Schmidt. “I don’t understand how a township can give a 2 percent raise, year after year.”
Chintall later said he could empathize with township employees, after working in the public sector, but believes that “financial bleeding” must stop soon. With the township in $163 million of debt, Chintall says committee must look frankly at West Deptford’s financial situation. He estimates the pay increase will cost an additional $60,000-$70,000 for the township this year.