Council members earn an annual salary of $24,130 for their part-time services, and the council president earns $26,541. Members currently receive benefits.
Councilwoman Mason herself declined in 2008 to take her council salary and benefits, but in 2009, after losing the mayoral election, she asked the council to give her her back pay an reinstate the benefits.
The resolution on the agenda states that since the positions are part time, and "part time positions usually do not provide for...benefits," the salaries will be amended to eliminate the health, vision, and dental benefits for City Council members. The wages will remain the same under the proposed ordinance.
This is not the first time Mason and Occhipinti have attempted to cut spending in City Hall this year. Mason sponsored a resolution earlier this year that would have lowered Mayor Dawn Zimmer's salary to $100,000. Zimmer, who earns $116,950 per year, vetoed the legislation after it passed by a 5-4 vote. However, Zimmer had started at approximately $130,000 in 2009 before she slashed her own salary.
The council -- now that the majority is allied with Zimmer -- is also considering returning a higher salary cap for the city attorney after Mason's allies slashed it when they had the majority earlier this year. When the council was aligned with Mason and against Zimmer, before July 1, the members voted to lower the cap on the contract of the city attorney, Mark Tabakin. His original contract, approved on Oct. 6, 2010, set his salary at "an amount not to exceed $103,500." The council voted to lower the amount to approximately $70,000 in June. However, on the agenda this week is a resolution that would boost his salary back up to the original terms of the $103,500 contract. Corporation counsel is not a full-time position in Hoboken.
The newest resolution, which was submitted by the Zimmer administration, is being proposed "to maintain good faith and fair dealing on the city's actions under the contract," according to the resolution.
What do you think? Should council members get health benefits? -- Ray Smith