Township Officials Divided Over Salary Ordinance
Committeeman Samuel Cianfarini looks for more analysis before bumping up West Deptford employees' pay.
While the proposed salary ordinance could give some township employees a raise, not everyone thinks it's the best move for West Deptford.
The first reading of the ordinance to fix salary grades for township employees and officials was passed by a 3-2 vote at the Nov. 15 township committee meeting. Committeeman Samuel Cianfarini and Mayor Raymond Chintall voted against the ordinance. Cianfarini cited the current economic conditions for his no vote.
During a later public comment session, a resident inquired about the salary increase township employees could expect from the ordinance. Chintall explained that the ordinance would give a 2 percent increase in salaries. Township Administrator Eric Campo confirmed the increase was the same increase given the prior year.
“Get real, everyone get real,” said the resident, who proposed a 2 percent increase for employees every other year, instead of annually.
Cianfarini explained that while he does not currently agree or disagree with a salary increase, he would like to see a regional analysis of pay grades and where West Deptford ranks in comparison before signing off on the ordinance. After requesting the information, Cianfarini is still awaiting on the report from finance officials. His vote doesn't mean he won't approve pay grade increases, but that he first wants a deeper analysis.
“We want to have the best workforce for the taxpayers' dollars,” said Cianfarini.
With the township’s debt estimated at $163 million, Cianfarini said his concern is to “stop the bleeding” and “bring the fiscal house in order.”
In addition to outlining salary grades, the ordinance also sets guidelines for salary increases in regard to length of service, promotion and reclassification. The ordinance also outlines the township’s sick leave buyback program, which provides employees the opportunity to sell back their unused sick leave to the township for half of cash value at the end of the year.
While pay grades of employees is a new area of concern, the salaries of committee members has been a matter of debate in West Deptford for some time.
On April 5 of this year, the committee voted to cut their own salaries in half, two months after Committeewoman Denice DiCarlo proposed the idea. Chintall acknowledged the salary cuts as a symbolic move by the committee. Prior to the cuts, West Deptford’s governing body was the highest paid in all of Gloucester County.
Currently, the proposed ordinance upholds those pay cuts, by specifying that neither the mayor nor a committee member’s salary can exceed $5,000. Prior to the cuts, township officials received a salary of $9,500, with the mayor’s salary at $11,500.
(To view ordinance in full, click on PDF.)