West Deptford is nearing the deadline for the first of its regularly
requested financial reports to the Local Finance Board (LFB), as requested by
the state Division of Local Government Services after its meeting in Trenton this summer, but the township committee has not yet
received a version of the reports to review.
That was an issue for Committeewoman Denice DiCarlo at the Thursday meeting of the local government, and she asked CFO Brenda Sprigman about the status of the reports when the governing body was called upon to approve its latest batch of bills.
“I see our role as to make sure that there are funds appropriated for this bill list, and I have not been shown that we are over-expending any of these,” DiCarlo said.
“All the information we needed to do for input is in,” Sprigman said. “Right now we’re researching some of the costs for the whole system.
“Rather than giving incorrect reports I held them back,” she said.
After some discussion, Sprigman confirmed that the reports are due to the LFB by November 8, and that the committee would have a reviewable draft before that time.
“We’re getting to the end of the year,” DiCarlo said.
DiCarlo and Committeewoman Donna Szymborski abstained from voting on the bill list in its entirety; Committeeman Sean Kilpatrick abstained on bills related to TD Bank, his employer. Mayor Ray Chintall and Committeeman Sam Cianfarini voted in the affirmative.
No cost of living increase
The committee also approved unanimously its resolution for the salaries for township employees, which gave a zero-percent cost of living increase for all township employees not already covered by collectively bargained raises.
One resident asked Cianfarini to account for that decision during the public comment portion of the meeting. He responded that with a six-percent decline in township property values, the decision to cut costs was unfortunate but necessary.
Property values are “the biggest asset on a lot of people’s books,” Cianfarini told the resident.
“We’re not taking any money away from the employees like the money has been taken away from our residents who increase property taxes," he said.
“It’s a hard decision, nothing I’d like to do, but it’s something that had to be done.”
Before the roll call vote, DiCarlo took a shot at Cianfarini on the phrasing of his comments.
“[You said] this is part of what we did during the budgeting process,” DiCarlo said to Cianfarini. “Who’s the we?” she asked.
“I think I from the start was talking about salaries, and we were not considering these employees,” she said.
“I don’t remember having the opportunity to give my voice on that except on this dais. I think I said multiple times that there was never a meeting on salaries.”
“You have never been muzzled on this dais,” Cianfarini said. “This is a democracy, and we did majority rule. The majority did accept this budget.”
“So you mean the three of you,” DiCarlo responded, indicating Cianfarini, Chintall and Kilpatrick.
DiCarlo told the room that she’d asked Sprigman to prepare a budget analysis to determine the cost of a two-percent cost of living increase for the township workers left out of the resolution.
“It’s $40,000,” DiCarlo said. “We spent $40,000 on the marketing people that never did anything,” she said.
“To singly point out the clerical, the managerial, and the part-time people, to burden them without giving them a raise is wrong,” she said.
West Deptford township employees received a two-percent cost of living salary increase in 2012, just a year after having received their first raises in four years in 2011.
Appointments and promotions
Although he took a roundabout route to get there, West Deptford Police Chief Samuel DiSimone was sworn in formally at the meeting Thursday.
The committee also passed a resolution naming Lt. Sean McKenna the new Deputy Chief of the police department.