The local government watchdog CivicJC has criticized Mayor Steven Fulop’s administration for “double dipping”—holding two jobs in Jersey City or Hudson County.
CivicJC president Esther Wintner blasted “the detested practice of leeching off the government teat [that] helped rocket Fulop to local prominence and ultimately, mayor” and the mayor for failing to curb the practice.
A Fulop administration official said the mayor believes an employee’s position with the city comes first, but court judgments preclude the mayor from preventing public employees from having extra sources of income if they are declared as the city’s charter mandates.
CivicJC reported that two Mayor Fulop administration members, one council member, and five council employee members received Jersey City and Hudson County salaries.
Ward According to CivicJC, Councilwoman Denise Riley “receives a salary of $85,000 from Jersey City and also appears on the county payroll as a ‘Confidential Assistant’ with the county register at a salary of $62,000 for a total of $147,000.”
Wintner said CivicJC sent a “secret assistant” job description to the county. “New Jersey Civil Services does not have job descriptions for the designations ‘confidential assistant’ or ‘confidential aide,'” the county replied.
According to CivicJC, municipal Business Administrator John Metro earns $190,000 from the city and $8,783 as secretary to the insurance fund, and $7,450 as an adviser to the Board of Commissioners.
The group stated $175,000-a-year mayoral aide and chief of staff John Minella also receives $22,914 as a Board of Elections member and $6,700 as a county commissioner aide.
In an email to The Hudson Reporter, a city official said, “The mayor still believes that working for the city should be the primary employment for everyone hired there, but that isn’t always practical, and the mayor does not control that legally.
Under the Faulkner Act system of government, a city cannot ban citizens from having different sources of income.
The county paid $80,000 and Jersey City $30,000 to Councilman Daniel Rivera’s aide. CivicJC noted Rivera’s county school system employment.
The county and city employed councilwoman Mira Prinz-aide.
Arey’s According to CivicJC, Prinz-Arey reported her spouse as receiving Hudson County income on her financial disclosure, but he was not on the county payroll document released in the OPRA request.
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The councilwoman told the Jersey City Times that her aide “does some part-time job with one of the commissioners” and earns $1,500 per year.
Her husband works for the Hudson County Board of Elections temporarily. He works for the county as a temp. I listed it on my financial disclosure statement.”
CivicJC reported that Municipal Council aides received city and county pay. Brittani Bunney, an aide to Ward D Councilwoman Yusef Saleh, is mentioned in the letter as earning $76,875 as an analyst trainee for the county and $35,000.
Councilwoman Amy Denise employs two county aides who earn $117,000 and $66,000. Jersey City pays them $22,500 and CivicJC adds $139,500 and $88,500.
The Hudson Reporter emailed council members mentioned in the letter, but none answered.
The CivicJC stated that Steven Fulop was elected as a reformer, a “Man With a Plan,” to stop political favoritism and old-time politics.
“CivicJC believes the public deserves to hear from Mayor Fulop as to why he would violate them on his pledge by maintaining an ugly Hudson County politics and to stand by the ideas he peddled.”