Mixed bag – Selling the Manor, Dunkins AWOL, Cost of County Admin

James Dunkins missed the Freeholder meeting last Tuesday, but I bet he still collects his paycheck.  And before you begin screaming, “But he only makes $15,000 a year!” let me remind you that most of his constituents would be happy to have a FULL-TIME job that pays that much, and they would actually show up for work. So, Dunkins missed the very important vote on the auction of Cumberland Manor. It would be an interesting concept to pro-rate a freeholder’s pay based on the freeholder meetings they attend. I mean, geez – they only have to attend 24 meetings a year. They are being paid $625 a meeting, when they fail to attend they are in effect stealing that money from the taxpayers.

While we are on the subject of the salaries of the county freeholders, let me point out how much waste is generated to administrate this county. Cumberland County only pays its freeholders $15,000 a year, with an extra $1,000 going to the director. Many counties pay salaries much higher, with the average being $45,000 a year. Not bad for a part-time job!

You would think that Cumberland has been holding the line, controlling costs. Cumberland comes in at number four for the lowest total spent on Freeholder Salaries in the state. But these salaries do not tell the entire story. NJ.com has a great article from 2009 on the real costs of county administration. I point you especially to the spreadsheet that shows the real costs. Granted, this information is now two years old – so the numbers here might be a little off. However, I would imagine that the actual costs increased in the past two years rather than otherwise.

Warning – there are a LOT of numbers on this spreadsheet. The creators however went beyond just counting salaries of freeholders, and added other costs such as the fake job that Lou Magazzu and Bill Whelan created for the position of “Freeholder Assistant”. This position started at $40,000 a year, and went to a person whose administrative experience was being a football player in college.  This salary range tops out at six figures – INSANE!  The same leadership also created a position of Grant Writer. After you get done adding the costs of county administrators and deputy ex administrators, Cumberland now rises to #14 out of 21 counties in cost of government administration.  Only six counties spend more than than the $217, 875 annually that we do.  And we still have the lowest standard of living of all of the counties, the highest unemployment, lowest wages (for those lucky enough to even have a job) – so I have to ask, what is all of this money actually paying for?

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