Scotch Plains Legal Opinions

1) Can a mayor give a township manager a raise at his discretion?
Mr. Renaud was asked at the August 30 meeting to look into the propriety of the salary increase, and in a September 6 letter to Mr. Mirabella and the council, a copy of which was obtained by The Leader, the attorney stated that “as far back as the collective memory goes, the manager’s salary has been established” —within a range that the council authorizes via a salary ordinance — “by the Mayor.” Mr. Renaud also noted that he had been informed by Lori Majeski, the township’s chief financial officer since 2001, that “during her tenure, the manager’s salary has been established by the Mayor, who so notifies the CFO.”

2) Can a part-time mayor and councilperson get their health insurance under the State Health Benefit Program paid for (outside of a $90 co-pay) by the town?

Mr. Renaud said his version of the statue differed from what Mr. Jones was reading so he would need to look into the matter further.
Both stories in today’s Scotch Plains/Fanwood Times and both questions  seem to still be unresolved. They shouldn’t be.

1) Per N.J.S.A. 40A:9-165:

The governing body of a municipality, by ordinance, unless otherwise provided by law, shall fix and determine the salaries, wages or compensation to be paid to the officers and employees of the municipality, including the members of the governing body and the mayor or other chief executive, who by law are entitled to salaries, wages, or compensation. Salaries, wages or  compensation fixed and determined by ordinance may, from time to time, be increased, decreased or altered by ordinance.
…….
Where any such ordinance shall provide for increases in salaries, wages or compensation of elective officials or any managerial, executive or confidential employee, the ordinance or that portion thereof which provides an increase for such elective or appointive officials shall become operative in 20 days after the publication thereof, after final passage, unless within said 20 days, a petition signed by voters of such municipality, equal in number to at least 5% of the registered voters of the municipality, protesting against the passage of such ordinance, be presented to the governing body, in which case such ordinance shall remain inoperative unless and until a proposition for the ratification thereof shall be adopted at an election by a majority of the voters voting on said proposition. The question shall be submitted at the next general election, occurring not less than 40 days from the date of the certification of the petition. The submission of the question to the voters shall be governed by the provisions of Title 19 (Elections) of the Revised Statutes, as in the case of public questions to be voted upon in a single municipality.

2) Per Resolution 2014-163 Scotch Plains participates in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and according to Local Finance Notice on Chapter 2, P.L. 2010:

Effective May 21, 2010, to be eligible for health benefits coverage under the SHBP, a full-time employee will be required to work a minimum of 25 hours per week, rather than the current 20 hours, to qualify for employer provided health benefits.  Full-time elected and appointed officers elected or appointed on or after May 21, must work a minimum of 35 hours per week to qualify for employer provided health benefits.

Appointed or elected officers who were appointed or elected prior to May 21st do not need to meet the 35 hour per week minimum provided they remain in their elected or appointed position continuously after May 21st.

…….

A change in elected office is considered election to a new position, and they are subject to the minimum 35-hour workweek rule.  If there is a break in service, such individuals are considered “newly” appointed or elected and subject to the 35 hour per week minimum.

Both fairly clear……unless those are not the answers that work for you.
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