I would like to address this letter to Mayor Zimmer.
Mayor Zimmer, I am impressed with the courage that you have displayed in your publicly coming forward to reveal the ugly quid pro that is the coin of the realm of American politics (unfortunately). Your honesty was unmistakable in your appearances on the various cable news shows. Hobokenites don’t get too many opportunities to feel good about their mayors, but you provided many of us with that unique experience.
But then you did something last week that goes against what I believe a real, true, dare I say, progressive politician would do: you gave raises to the already well-paid (in some cases overpaid) highest paid city hall workers. Some of directors who will receive these large raises (over $28,000 in one case – that is one-year’s salary for some municipal workers) already have pensions from previous government jobs, such as Business Administrator Quentin Wiest, who receives over $66,000 on his early retirement from Bergen County. This would also include Public Safety Director Jon Tooke who, as a retired Jersey City police officer, receives a pension of almost $100,000 from Jersey City.
To some extent, I guess I understand: you probably spend more time with the directors then you do with the crossing guards, bus drivers, low-level administrative clerks, and other municipal workers who may be earning $20,000-$35,000 a year. But this shouldn’t be about rewarding familiarity – this should be about providing a decent living wage to people who make the city run. A city that is becoming increasingly more expensive to live in.
I am also disappointed in the city council members who approved this. That this would be one of first things that the mayor’s new majority would take on makes me uncomfortable. I’m a supporter, I’m a fan, I voted for the mayor and the candidates she supported. I eagerly looked forward to the issues the council would now be able to move on. And this is what we get? Raises for Hoboken’s top municipal earners? I know we still call it ‘public service’ but where is the service when you are earning as much, if not more, than many of these workers would ever be able to earn in the private sector?
Feeling a little deflated after the thrilling experience of seeing my mayor speak truth to power. Well, Mayor Zimmer, this is my speaking truth to your power.
Sorry, I can’t sign my name. I like you, Mayor Zimmer, but you need to know that I am seriously disappointed.