Legislation sponsored by Senator Nicholas P. Scutari, which would prohibit retroactive salary increases for all elected officials throughout the state, was introduced to the Senate last week.
“Elected officials should not have the capability to give themselves retroactive salary increases,” said Senator Scutari (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “As elected officials in the legislature, we are prohibited from giving ourselves retroactive raises and bonuses. No elected official should be able to collect back pay upon salary increases; this legislation extends this basic standard to all elected offices in the state.
“I brought forward this piece of legislation because as public officials we aim to foster a climate of accountability in government, and to prevent politicians from padding their bank accounts by paying themselves for work they have already been paid for,” Scutari said.
The basis for this legislation is Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, who incredibly retroactively raised his salary from $73,425 to $100,000 – a 36 percent retroactive pay raise – which resulted in Armstead receiving a taxpayer-funded bonus check of over $25,000 for work he already completed. Mayor Armstead who was just re-elected and sworn in to a new 4 year term of office, did not mention this pay raise during his re-election bid.
“Mayor Armstead rewarding himself with a taxpayer-funded retroactive bonus worth over $25,000 is an arrogant and shameful action for an individual tasked with maintaining the public trust. Clearly, his intent to raise his salary was known before his re-election, but he choose to keep that issue quiet until after Election Day. This flagrant act of deception towards taxpayers is exactly why people don’t trust elected officials, and the residents of my community are not pleased” said Sen. Scutari.