To the Editor;
You may remember the big a deal the salaries of the Sheriff and Surrogate were in the last election. The State had mandated certain salaries in excess of $100,000 per year and the Democrat candidates promised to serve at a bargain salary if elected. The Democrat Freeholders and now Sheriff Austino and Surrogate Rainear said it was simply greedy that anyone in a poor county like Cumberland could get a government salary in excess of $100,000.
Recently I was able to see the salaries of all county employees through an OPRA request. I was shocked to find that 12 people employed by the Freeholders and make more than $100,000 per year with the highest paid making $165,000. You can see a list of those people and their salaries at CumberlandAnswers.com.
These were not salaries forced on the board by the State but were voluntarily given and approved by the Freeholders. This shows how for political gain good people can be denigrated for simply asking for the salaries due them by state statute while the same board pays other much more but just keep it quiet.
In a county with the highest unemployment rate in the state you would expect the freeholders to hold the line on these highest paid people for at least this year, but no, they all got raises. Somehow the Sheriff and Surrogate were “greedy” when it was an election issue but these 12 people not only were making more than $100,000 last year but got raises! I do not fault the employees, if your boss gives you a raise you don’t turn it down. I blame the Freeholders. The State of New Jersey is making people take unpaid days off to save money yet Cumberland County has budgeted $5,500,000 more in salaries for 2009 than in 2008. That’s an increase of 14%. $5,500,000 is not the county payroll. That’s only the increase in the county payroll from 2008.
I sure hope everyone isn’t getting a 14% raise so they must be planning on hiring more people. Is that what you do when the economy is in the shape it is? They would never do that with their own money so why do they do it with yours?
This is the kind of thing that happens when Cumberland County has a Freeholder Board that is 7 democrats and no Republicans. We need alternate voices and opinions to insure the people’s will is carried out and your money is not wasted.
275 Sayres Neck Rd.
Cedarville, NJ 08311
Tom Sheppard writes a letter to the editor