FREEHOLD, NJ – Unless you are an elected official in the Monmouth County government, you probably didn’t find great financial success in New Jersey during the COVID-19 pandemic. A two-punch combination of the COVID-19 health emergency and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s extended pandemic business lockdown has crippled many small businesses and workers at the Jersey Shore.
While you were locked inside your home, hoping your unemployment check would show up or anticipating your stimulus check while your fought to stay in your home and looked for work when there was none, the Monmouth County Board of Commissioners and several other high ranking county employees secretly gave themselves 25% pay raises out of the view of the public eye.
They were caught and they defend their actions, saying there’s no law that stops them from doing it.
Board of Commissioners made $35,769 annually for their part time job that requires them to attend a few meetings each month. Commissioner Director Tom Arnone gave himself a $7,869 raise. Commissioners Sue Kiley and Pat Impreveduto gave themeselves $8,769 raises.
Sheriff Shaun Golden got a a $26,000 raise and now makes over $200,000 annually.
County Administrator Teri O’Connornow makes $243,000 per year. County Attorney Mike Fitzgerald now takes home $225,000 in public funds each year. Both Deputy Administrator Christopher Marion and County CFO Craig Marshall each are just under $200,000 annual in salary alone.
There was never a public hearing over those 25% salary increases. There was no oversight committee. They just gave themselves pay raises.
Now, Mike Beson, of Ocean Township has called for a state investigation into those raise. Beson who is running for a spot on the Board of Commissioners has requested the New Jersey Comptroller’s Office to investigate whether or not those self-awarded raises are legal.
“Instead of trying to cut excess costs and decrease our property tax burden during an economic public and health crisis, the county commissioners — hoping no one was paying attention — increased their own salaries,” Beson said. “”To bring light to this backroom deal, its blatant violation of the county’s administrative code and its shocking mismanagement of taxpayer funds during a public health emergency, I’ve submitted a formal complaint to the N.J. comptroller to look into this matter.”