Western New Jersey

Phillipsburg council reaches consensus on raises

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - Phillipsburg Town Council approved 13 of 14 proposed raises for town employees Tuesday night, wrapping up the previous meeting’s unfinished agenda.

“You know how I feel the raises that are in question, but I have to allow the council to vote on it,” said Council President Todd Tersigni. “However the chips lie, they lie.”

Council’s actions drew fire from many of those in attendance who waited two weeks to voice their concerns and frustrations on the matter.

Dustin Pierce lamented council acted against the wishes of those present to endorse the raises. The money would have been better used fixing town-wide issues and getting Phillipsburg on the right track, he said.

“We are a broke town, and people can’t afford to stay here,” he said.

Several other residents also spoke against the pay raises.

Melissa Paulus said, despite the mayor’s assertions, the municipalities used to gauge Phillipsburg’s salary range weren’t comparable to Phillipsburg.

The towns had different median incomes and housing, Paulus said.

“The numbers are flawed,” she said.

Council approved the raises with little debate, excepting a lone resolution for Phillipsburg’s human resource manager.

Council member Randy Piazza asked whether the position had been approved by council.

“Not at this rate,” Tersigni said.

Originally a part time position, the employee in question now worked full time for the town. Tersigni said he questioned the hiring process and job posting for the position.

“I’m extremely disappointed,” said Mayor Stephen Ellis.

Ellis said the human resource manager performed a number of duties for the town, acting as town’s safety and environmental officer and handling complaints and town building violations.

He is also taking classes to become a qualified purchasing agent and a grant writer, Ellis said.

In other news, Phillipsburg officials are entering into a lease agreement with Phillipsburg Board of Education for the former Freeman School building on Filmore Street, pending results of an environmental study.

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