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SEASONS GREETINGS TO ALL. The election cycle has past and the end of the year is approaching quickly. I have never used this article for political reasons but I must take a second to thank everyone that voted for me to be reelected as mayor of Highlands. I am truly thankful and humbled with your trust. The people who did not vote for me I hope I can earn your support through my actions and future record. Typically at this time of the year a lot of things tend to slow down because of the seasonal parties and events.
In Highlands we have extra meetings scheduled to try and accomplish things this year instead of waiting until next year. Also, we have pending vacancies on all of our boards. We will meet individually one on one and try and decide all of our appointments together.
Our CFO has told the borough he will be retiring this year after many years of service. We wish him well and hope he has a long and joyous retirement. The right thing to do would be to explore a shared service agreement to try and maintain the level of service while saving a few dollars. The bare minimum that should be done would be to advertise the job and see if someone qualified applies. Our current CFO will still be on the job another five months which is plenty of time for the council to do the open and honest thing.
As of this writing, there is a contract being written for someone to fill that position that already has 6 municipal jobs across the state. If this individual was to be given this 6 municipal job at our council meeting on December 18th they would be one of the top paid public employees in the state and hold 2 jobs in the Borough of Highlands. His current salary listed on the state website is $244,606 for his 5 current positions. If we add another $65,000 to the total and highlands would be putting him over the $300,000 per year mark.
I am all for people making all the money they can but not on the taxpayer’s backs. This is a classic example of what is wrong with the municipal process. Why would any council person rush to give someone their 6th position without even advertising the job or exploring shared services? I do not buy the argument that we have to rush into this because of all the pending financial issues with Sandy. This is a classic example of a scare tactic to try and get something done fast without telling the public the real reason.
By definition most part time jobs are about 20 hours per week. The average fulltime job is 40 hours. If you have 4 part time jobs, that means you are working, in theory, 80 hours per week on those jobs. Plus you have 2 full time jobs. That’s another 80 hours. The person who is potentially being given a 6th municipal job at the December 18th council meeting will be working 160 hours per week. There are 168 total hours in a 7 day week. How can someone work 6 jobs and be effective? The answer is: they can’t.
Something is radically wrong with this picture. You have to ask yourself, “who would think this is a good idea and why?” I have already started the process of gathering information on any possible shared service agreement and will ask that we advertise the job for 30 days to see what candidates are out there. I encourage everyone to ask the other council members’ if they think giving this individual a 6th municipal job is a good idea and if they do think this is a good idea, why? Also, in our most pressing time of need, how much attention are we getting from someone with 5 other positions? If you are the best at any particular field and excel in your position, you simply could not put in the amount of time required to get the job done. The math does not add up.