The Ridgewood Patch

By James Kleimann

The last item on the agenda of the Wednesday night Village Council public meeting is certainly the most interesting, and one a Ridgewood councilman says shouldn’t be there at all.

Village Manager Ken Gabbert could be receiving a 12 percent raise if the council votes to approve a memorandum of understanding effective retroactive to January 2011, bringing his base salary up from $173,000 to $185,000.

“No public employee should be getting a 12 percent salary increase,” Councilman Paul Aronsohn said Wednesday afternoon. “Not the President. Not the Governor. And certainly not Ridgewood’s Village Manager. This is not right.”

Taxes have gone up. Services have gone down. This therefore makes absolutely no sense,” he said.

Gabbert started in the village in November of 2009 at a base salary of $165,000 and took a pro-rated $18,000 when he added the position of CFO to his resume before Stephen Sanzari took the position in 2011.

Still, Aronsohn has questions as to why Gabbert received an $8,000 increase between 2010 and 2011. “I’m not clear on how that happened at all,” he said.

The current proposed raise is just as concerning to Aronsohn, he said.

“My concerns are substantive and procedural,” said the councilman, who had voted an abstaining vote on Gabbert’s appointment as Village Manager in 2009. He took issue that the item was placed on the agenda Tuesday night in the quietest time of summer.

“At the very least, there should be adequate time given for public comment,” Aronsohn said. “The taxpayers footing the bill should be given a voice.”

Dozens of village employees were laid off in 2010 before officials conceded they may have “cut too deeply,” and rehired several earlier in 2011. Aronsohn has also objected to a series of ordinances that provideĀ retroactive incentive raises to village non-union personnel, notably managers.

The council will meet at 8:00 p.m. on the fourth floor of Village Hall