Sunday, January 10, 2010

Police Director Pay on Monday's Agenda

The first ordinance of 2010 will be to establish the position of police director by salary and wage, something the administration and governing body did not do when the post was created in 2008.

In April 2008, the City Council approved an ordinance abolishing the position of police chief and creating the office of police director. However, no salary was established. Because the title was given to Martin Hellwig in addition to his role as director of the Department of Public Affairs & Safety, it did not become an issue, as he drew only his salary as department head.

After serving one year in acting capacity, Hellwig was named police director in March 2009 through the balance of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs' term ending Dec. 31. Click here for Plaintalker's report. With her re-election, Hellwig again took on the dual roles.

The agenda for Monday's meeting is online, but not the text of the ordinance with salary details. The meeting is 7:30 p.m. in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave. Hellwig will not be permitted to draw two salaries, but any successor would be unable to take the job without the salary ordinance in place.

The city has saved money by allowing individuals to take on dual roles, such as former City Administrator Marc Dashield did by filling in twice as acting head of Administration Finance, Health & Social Services. At present, Bibi Taylor is both acting city administrator and acting director of AFH&SS. However, she is leaving at the end of the month for a job in East Orange, thereby creating two cabinet vacancies.

A new cabinet-level title, Manager I for Information Processing, is expected to be filled soon. The city is also searching for a chief finance officer, a post being held temporarily by assistant comptroller Sandra Cummings.

If all the top titles are filled separately in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2010, the cabinet payroll could increase by more than $300,000. During the mayor's first term, the city administrator and some department heads voluntarily took less pay than their subordinates, a situation that could change if the city has to compete for candidates.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think all the mayor's cabinet should follow Hellwig's example. He makes less than the people he works for, and less that any other person with his title in the county. Also, my understanding is that he takes no pension benefits.

My opinion is that Hellwig is the only thing this administration has gotten right. I hope the council agrees and leaves him alone.

1:35 PM  
Blogger MichaelT said...

I suspect that Mr. Hellwig is receiving pension benefits from his long career in law enforcement while he is collecting a salary in Plainfield. Pursuant to state regulation, he cannot enroll in the Public Employees Retirement System while he receives pension benefits from the Police and Fire Retirement System. His apparent altruism may be due to State regulation.

3:11 PM  

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