The Ridgewood News

By Kelly Ebbels

Ridgewood¬†’s managerial and non-union staff – with the exception of the village manager and police chief – will no longer receive automatic raises, but will be eligible for incentive bonuses based on performance evaluations.

 

The Village Council voted to approve the changes at a meeting this month by approving two ordinances – one for managerial staff and the other for non-union staff.

Councilman Paul Aronsohn voted against the proposal, contending that incentive bonuses don’t make sense in a time of financial belt tightening.

“I don’t question whether senior village employees work hard; I just question whether they should receive bonuses for doing so, particularly in light of the past year’s layoffs and reduction in town services. Now, more than ever, we should expect leaders to lead by example,” Aronsohn said. “With taxes on the rise and services on the decline, this is no time to be giving out bonuses to anybody.”

Others have argued otherwise, including Deputy Mayor Tom Riche, who has stated the new policy would in fact show department managers leading by example by foregoing automatic raises. Mayor Keith Killion echoed the sentiment.

“It’s changed from the way we’ve been doing business where it was automatic raises, whether for a good employee or a bad employee,” Killion said. “The system didn’t work, so we tried another system.”

He added that, with unions receiving raises, managers should also be eligible for bonuses.

The two-year contract, which ends at the end of 2011, allows incentive bonuses ranging from zero to 4 percent and would apply retroactively over the past two years. Previously, raises were determined each year and approved by the Village Council. In 2009, department heads received 4 percent raises and non-union employees received 3.8 percent raises, according to Village Manager Ken Gabbert.

The ordinances lay out minimum and maximum pay scales for non-union personnel and department heads: for the village manager, between $115,815 and $190,000, the director of operations between $92,419 and $165,862, and the director of public works and village engineer between $86,305 and $156,317. The police chief has a maximum salary of $180,000, police captains a maximum of $169,500, and the fire chief a maximum of $160,000.

The village mayor will receive a maximum of $5,000 and council members $3,000; the deputy village clerk’s salary is set between $48,345 and $65,749; Graydon Pool’s manager between $339.48 and $745.20 per week; and police parking violations officers between $43,440 and $51,591. Parameters have been set for many other positions as well.

Incentive bonuses can be awarded from a total pool of more than $80,000, Gabbert said. He estimated that the change from automatic raises to incentive bonuses could yield more than $40,000 a year in savings. Bonuses must be approved by the village manager and council.

The contract terms of the village manager and police chief are negotiated separately.

E-mail: Ebbels@northjersey.com