Thoughts on salaries

Lou Magazzu is busy doing damage control. He hung his freeholders out to dry, and is now trying to pretend that he has always been reasonable in the debate about the salaries of constitutional officers. Let it be clear that he was never on the right side of this debate until this week, when the self-centered Doug Rainear decided to renege on his sole campaign promise to not take the full “ungodly” salary that is set by statute.

Magazzu Watch at the very beginning advocated that Lou Magazzu and his merry band of freeholders use their position to change the laws. We had a Democrat governor, and a Democrat majority in the house and senate. Jeff Van Drew should have jumped in and fought to bring the salaries back into control of the local government.

Lou refused; adamantly refused.  Now he lies and pretends that he always advocated local control. A simple search of the MWatch archives will verify this.

But let’s put aside partisan politics, and approach this issue logically. Fact: the salaries are set by law. Fact: the freeholders are required to uphold the law.

The vote the other day could not have gone otherwise. The freeholder board was required to allow Doug Rainear to collecthis legal salary. It is cut and dry. However, every freeholder that voted in favorof this despicable action by Doug Rainear had a moral obligation to speak out, and to chastise Rainear for breaking a promise, for reneging on an oath.

The problems that we have at MWatch, and the issues that virtually every other citizen in the county have is the betrayal of trust. How can we believe any word that the good reverend Dunkins ever speaks when he blatantly lied during his campaign to be elected, and then stabbed every taxpayer in the back by voting in favor of Doug Rainear’s ungodly salary increase? What Dunkins should have done is to publicly admonish Rainear for being a liar and hypocrite.

Colossians 3:9-10

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

It is clear by Dunkins actions, and by his inaction, that he has forsaken the word of God that he pretends to follow. Apparently he only follows those scriptures that he feels are politically expedient. I would be ashamed to be a member of his church.

Whelan, the moderator of the farce on video, should have spoken up and rebuked Rainear for his callous actions. Rainear’s raise will cost two employees their jobs. Rainear could not care less about the lives he is destroying, he simply wants to pad his pension.  Whelan, too, apparently could not care less about the loss of two jobs. After all, he is living on taxpayer money.

Jannarone – again, she ran on the promise to save taxpayers money, and broke it and never once raised the issue that Rainear is a liar, or that he lacks moral integrity.  They all quietly colluded to pass this measure which was never even on the agenda. It is clear that they wanted it to pass without the knowledge of the public. Afterwards, they pulled all video of their promises. These are the acts of cowards.

So where do we go from this point? Finally, out of desperation, Lou is doing the right thing in seeking to have the law changed. He should have done this when he had a Democrat controlled state. But, there were too many feeding from the public trough for the law ever to be changed.

We have to ask why the salaries were set by statute in the first place? It was to take politics out of the matter. Lou succeeded in putting politics back in. We need to come up with a fair solution, one that removes politics, and that sets salaries at levels that reflect the actual median income of the region.

One fact that Lou refuses to acknowledge is that only two counties in the state pay their constitutional officers the base salary. Many officers earn as much as $170,000 annually, plus perks. A formula to develop a fair salary based on the actual cost of living in a county needs to be created. The salary must be sufficient to attract competent individuals. Obviously, $75,000 a year is not enough income to attract a competent sheriff, as is proven with the lack of leadership in Cumberland County. Any supposed savings was lost by the need to hire an extra undersheriff because Bob Austino is inept.

A fair and equitable formula advocating a range of salaries for constitutional officers needs to be enacted. Tax savings are possible. Time will tell whether Magazzu pursues this issue, or is using it solely to escape the heat of the fire of public sentiment because of the lies and  greed of his freeholders and surrogate.

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11 Responses to Thoughts on salaries

  1. ignatz says:

    There are questions still to be asked; What is the actual wording of the approved resolution that was passed? Someone needs to obtain a copy of the original. News accounts state that the resolution was to be able to apply to the state for reimbursement. What if the state says no? Does the resolution have wording that approves the salary anyway? Did the Freeholders approve the retroactive raise reguardless of what the state says or what portion the state may or may not reimburse? What portion of the salary is the state responsible for? Rainear’s request for a retroactive raise for 2010 covers 2 budget cycles for Cumberland County Government. What was budgeted for the position? Is it legal to adjust a budget that has now been spent? Why would the Freeholders even entertain a request for a retroactive pay increase? They made the County Clerk sue them for her pay. If it wasn’t budgeted, then accept that the Surrogate’s budget for 2011 will have the mandated pay (still a farce and in direct conflict to the platform “Team Rainear” ran on) and deal with it during the budget process through proper channels, not in the closet, attempting to hide it from the public. If it wasn’t in the budget then does it now require an amendment or is it all just a shell game? Budget for the lower amount, lay off workers, mandate furloughs for the remaining staff, then after you get the concessions that you want from hard working people, approve a retroactive raise for a “part time” position (direct quote from Rainear during election campaign as seen on You Tube)!

  2. Guess-Who says:

    The Resolution Number is 764 = Reimbursement of Surrogate Salary

  3. Jennifer Swift says:

    Doesn’t Doug Rainear owe the voters an explanation? I think it would be appropriate for him to either hold a press conference or write a letter of explanation. Saying “things have changed” just isn’t enough. Over the past two years, things have changed for everyone. For instance, there have be no social security increases even though costs have risen for seniors. He should have explained himself to the public even before the freeholders dealt with it. In addition, the voices of democrats who funded his campaign lies are tragically silent.

  4. WuLi says:

    I just have to wonder why in Cumberland County this idiot can’t live on $120,000 a year. He is getting paid $75,000 a year, with benefits as surrogate. He rarely shows up for work, has never worked a 40-hour week since he has been elected, according to his staff.

    In addition, he receives TWO pensions already!

    Teacher’s Pension and Annuity Fund, final employer, Bridgeton Board of Education, enroll date – 9/72, retired 02/01/05, pension amount $35,930.40

    Public Employees Retirement System,enroll date is 02/01/92, retired 03/01/10, pension amount $7,829.40

    Doug will not come out and tell the taxpayers what has changed in two years. however – this is a fact – what has changed is he only has three years left before he is unemployed. He KNOWS he cannot be re-elected. He needs to pad his pension even more, so that he can retire (not that he actually ‘works’ now) and live sweetly on the public’s back.

  5. GoGoCumCo says:

    I guess I’m confused…How is he collecting from the Public Employees system while still employed as a public employee? Or are you projecting what his current pension would be IF he was not employed?…. Which would obviously change after three years of $120,000+ in salary.

  6. Calhoun says:

    A few thoughts on this mess.

    1. Salaries for Constitutional Officers

    These offices (Clerk, Sheriff, Surrogate) are in the New Jersey constitution. The duties that these elected officers perform are governed by state statutes (as well as the NJ Constitution). It, therefore, stands to reason that it should be the state that sets the salaries. Any problem with the salaries for these officers must be addressed by the state. Furthermore, any such solution should not involve a “local control” approach because the duties they perform are chiefly state duties. True the cost of living in Cumberland County is a lot less than in Hudson County, but if that or any other aspect (qualifications, service time etc.) is to be considered, it is the state that needs to set the guidelines. Freeholders should not be setting salaries for what are effectively state positions (albeit elected by a county in the case of the clerk, surrogate, and sheriff).

    Prior to 2002, freeholders were in charge of doing this and it was a mess, with Ds and Rs constantly bickering over what constituted a fair salary. In fact, it was the never-ending feuds between Magazzu and Surrogate Freitag and Magazzu and Clerk Noto that probably helped the legislation get passed. Thus, Lou has himself to blame for the salaries, which no doubt are based on a formula (65% of a superior court judge’s salary) that is out of whack, especially in Cumberland County.

    Even after the law was passed in 2002, Cumberland County freeholders still refused to follow the law. In 2006, when the freeholders needed to pass a resolution on the state-mandated salaries they refused (despite counsel Wodlinger warning them that they took an oath to uphold the laws of the state), when only three freeholders voted to authorize the state-mandated salaries and three others abstained (the seventh, Trout, was absent). Who were the three abstainers? Magazzu, Christy and — wait for it — Rainear! Yup, Doug Rainear refused to give the constitutional officers their state mandated salaries. His reasoning: “We have a moral obligation to vote our conscience.”

    2. Lou, Van Drew, and Whelan’s Malarkey Stew

    Now Lou wants to again have control over the county officers’ salaries. Sorry Lou, but your track record on this stinks.

    Senator Van Drew you are up for re-election next year and you would do well to show some leadership on this issue. Rather than pass this hot potato back to the county freeholders why don’t you and your colleagues in the state legislature actually earn some of your inflated salaries by addressing the inflated salaries of the constitutional officers.

    Now Whelan is telling everyone that will listen that he is very upset about this increase. And that while he voted for the resolution he was actually voting for the reimbursement and not the salary increase. No, Mr. Whelan you voted for the increase. Furthermore, where was your outrage when the resolution came up for a vote? You said next to nothing before voting yes. Furthermore, you claim that you didn’t know about the resolution until it was read. If that is the case (I find it hard to believe), then you and the rest of the freeholders should immediately fire the county admimistrator, Mecouch, because he put you in a ridiculous position forcing you to vote on an extremely controversial resolution without advance notice.

    3. What’s next?

    Lou has vowed to introduce a resolution rolling back the salaries of the constitutional officers. However, there is one problem — the freeholders have no legal authority to do so. So, Lou Magazzu, Esq., may be on the verge of pulling a remarkable “twofer” pushing through one resolution (chapel) that is unconstituional and another (constituional officers salaries) that is illegal.

    Someone on this board recently wrote that our county was starting to sound a lot like Mayberry. Andy Taylor, Opie, Barney Fife, Aunt Bea, Gomer Pyle, Goober Pyle, and Floyd the Barber would no doubt be offended by such a comparison.

  7. Hang 'em High says:

    Did the freeholders conduct the required salary hearing for Rainear’s salary increase? I distinctly remember reading that the freeholders held salary hearings for Noto and Marchand in the past, as is required by law.

    Guess you don’t need one if you suck up to King Louie, but I thought I read somewhere that this is a requirement as stipulated by state law.

    But what do I know, I am not smart enough to demand a retroactive raise

  8. ??????? says:

    Calhoun, Who were the freeholders that did what the law required and voted for the state mandated salaries?

  9. Calhoun says:

    HEH, I am not aware of any hearing being held beyond the unannounced resolution passed on Thanksgiving Eve. I recall hearings being held in the old days when the salary was determined by the freeholders. Riddler, I don’t have a copy of the 15 September 2006 meeting when the freeholders failed to authorize the state mandated salaries for the constitutional offciers. My unofficial scorecard has the following tally on this vote: Aye: Mary Gruccio (R), Bruce Peterson (D), Jim Rocco (R); Abstain: Jane Christy (D), Louis Magazzu (D), Douglas Rainear (D); Not Voting: Jeffrey Trout (R). So the answer to your question appears to be Gruccio, Peterson, Rocco.

  10. Hang 'em High says:

    Anybody notice that once again, saving face has snapped Rainear’s head back?

    Typical of him. This is the SECOND time he has been caught with his grubby hands in the cookie jar and came up with an excuse.

    First time was when he was a freeholder and running for another term as Twp. Committeeman. When voters questioned the ethics of holding 2 elected positions, Rainear sluffed it off by offering to donate his committeeman’s salary to the fire companies. One doubts that he would have done so out of the goodness of his heart – It was done to buy off the voters.

    Now he decides that he won’t take the full salary. Doubt he would have done so had no one screamed bloody murder.

    This guy is amazing.

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