Letter to City Manager Stinson. Brigantine Longevity Payments.

Dear Mr. Stinson: While going over the 2017 municipal employee salary list, we found what appear to be violations of City ordinances in ten non-union salaries regarding longevity.  Let’s look at the relevant salary ordinances.

Ordinance #17 of 2013, section 5 says, “Longevity is eliminated for all employees from the date of this ordinance.  Employees that have received longevity in the past will maintain the longevity amount that has already been added to their base salary but will no longer be eligible to receive longevity from this date forward.”

The 2014 salary ordinance says, “Longevity was eliminated for all employees, etc.”

Ordinance #8, 2017 says, “Longevity was eliminated for all employees.  Employees that have received longevity in the past will maintain the longevity amount that has already been added to their base but will no longer be eligible to receive longevity from 1/1/14.”

Another category has been added to the employee list’s columns – union/non-union.  The longevity % column is still there but is used only for non-union employees.  Why is it there at all? Non-union employees shouldn’t be getting longevity and a percentage is no longer used in union contracts.   For 2017, there are ten items under “longevity %”, all listed as non-union.

Here are the results of our research. We chose at random three items of the ten listed as examples.

1.       2014 base salaries don’t include accrued longevity.

2.       The 2015 base salary is the same as in 2014.

3.       2016 base salaries include some raises but no amounts for longevity. They are listed separately.

4.       Longevity was paid in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.

5.       The separate amount of longevity increased as the base salary increased.  This is also contrary to the ordinances which state clearly that the amount of longevity which was to have been added in 2014 is static, “frozen”, permanent, not eligible for any increases as the salary increased.

Over the years, Brigantine taxpayers have paid millions of dollars to fund unjustified longevity payments.  Now, at last, taxpayers can see that contractual changes made in the past few years are leading to the total elimination of this expensive, unnecessary burden on them. However, this avoidance of compliance noted here, which appears intentional, is a regression.

The language of these ordinances is clear. There is no basis for misinterpretations and violations.  All municipal employees and the public need to know that their municipal administration obeys its own ordinances and will adjust salaries when these ordinances have been disregarded.  It’s your duty and responsibility as manager to ensure that compliance with the law is taking place, in this case beginning finally in 2018.  And, of course, City Council also is accountable.  Please distribute this letter to each Councilmember.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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