Vote button trans.png
April's Project of the Month
It's spring time. It's primary election season!
Click here to find all the information you'll need to cast your ballot.




Essex County employee salaries

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Essex County employee salaries are public records under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act.

Salaries

Sunshine Review filed a public records request request seeking salary information on Essex County public employees, specifically those in administrative positions and anyone earning more than $150,000 annually.

2008 salaries

According to data provided by county officials, there were 13 county employees earning more than $150,000 annually as of 2008.[1]

  • Medical Director Natarajan Elangovan earned $213,082
  • Robert Stern, a psychiatrist, earned $197,000
  • Janardana Pingili, a psychiatrist, earned $171,355
  • Psychiatrist Adriana Cordal earned $171,250
  • Michael Rubin, a psychiatrist, earned $164,312
  • Naipaul Rambaran, clinical director, earned $160,000
  • Krishna Maruri, a staff psychiatrist, earned $159,701
  • Nirmala Bhagtani, a staff psychiatrist, earned $156,000
  • Psychiatrist Joseph Buceta earned $156,000
  • Psychiatrist Josef Kolenski earned $156,000
  • Ila Shah, a psychiatrist, earned $156,000
  • County Prosecutor Paula Dow earned $153,000
  • Ronald Wei, a psychiatrist, earned $152,579
  • County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo earned $149,350

2009 salaries

According to data provided by county officials, there were 13 county employees earning more than $150,000 annually as of 2009.[2]

  • Medical Director Natarajan Elangovan earned $213,082
  • Robert Stern, a psychiatrist, earned $197,000
  • Janardana Pingili, a psychiatrist, earned $171,355
  • Michael Rubin, a psychiatrist, earned $166,312
  • County Prosecutor Paula Dow earned $165,000
  • Krishna Maruri, a staff psychiatrist, earned $160,701
  • Naipaul Rambaran, clinical director, earned $160,000
  • Nirmala Bhagtani, a staff psychiatrist, earned $156,000
  • Psychiatrist Joseph Buceta earned $156,000
  • Psychiatrist Josef Kolenski earned $156,000
  • Ila Shah, a psychiatrist, earned $156,000
  • County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo earned $153,831
  • Ronald Wei, a psychiatrist, earned $153,579

2010 salaries

According to data provided by county officials, there were 15 employees earning more than $150,000 annually as of 2010.[3]

  • Medical Director Natarajan Elangovan earned $213,082
  • Robert Stern, a psychiatrist, earned $197,000
  • Janardana Pingili, a psychiatrist, earned $171,355
  • Psychiatrist Bolivar Pascual earned $166,741
  • Michael Rubin, a psychiatrist, earned $166,312
  • Robert Clyman, a psychiatrist, earned $165,000
  • County Prosecutor Robert Laurino earned $$165,000
  • Krishna Maruri, a staff psychiatrist, earned $161,700
  • Naipaul Rambaran, clinical director, earned $160,000
  • Staff Psychiatrist Mary Ravelo earned $156,417
  • Psychiatrist Joseph Buceta earned $156,000
  • Internist Madiha Eltaki earned $156,000
  • Psychiatrist Josef Kolenski earned $156,000
  • Ila Shah, a psychiatrist, earned $156,000
  • Ronald Wei, a psychiatrist, earned $154,579
  • County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo earned $153,831

DiVincenzo, 58, used a state loophole to begin drawing his pension while still earning his full salary. State law allows elected officials in the public employee and police pension systems to "retire" but keep working. In fact, DiVincenzo "retired" just three months before winning an unprecedented third term as county executive.[4]

2011 salaries

According to data provided by county officials, there were 15 employees earning more than $150,000 annually as of 2011.[5]

  • Medical Director Natarajan Elangovan earned $213,082
  • Robert Stern, a psychiatrist, earned $197,000
  • Janardana Pingili, a psychiatrist, earned $176,534
  • Psychiatrist Bolivar Pascual earned $170,486
  • Krishna Maruri, a staff psychiatrist, earned $166,543
  • Robert Clyman, a psychiatrist, earned $165,000
  • County Prosecutor Robert Laurino earned $$165,000
  • Naipaul Rambaran, clinical director, earned $160,000
  • Ronald Wei, a psychiatrist, earned $159,206
  • Staff Psychiatrist Mary Ravelo earned $156,417
  • Psychiatrist Joseph Buceta earned $156,000
  • Internist Madiha Eltaki earned $156,000
  • Psychiatrist Josef Kolenski earned $156,000
  • Ila Shah, a psychiatrist, earned $156,000
  • County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo earned $153,831

Car use

Sunshine Review filed a public records request seeking information on the number of automobiles, particularly those allowed to be driven home, Essex County provides to its public employees. According to data provided by the county, there are 21 automobiles assigned to employees.[6] The data does not describe the types of vehicles assigned, although the county did provide a list of automobiles in the county fleet.[7]

Salary records project

In 2011, Sunshine Review chose 152 local governments as the focus of research on public employee salaries. The editors of Sunshine Review selected eight states with relevant political contexts (listed alphabetically):

1. California
2. Florida
3. Illinois
4. Michigan
5. New Jersey
6. Pennsylvania
7. Texas
8. Wisconsin

Within these states, the editors of Sunshine Review focused on the most populous cities, counties and school districts, as well as the emergency services entities within these governments. The purpose of this selection method was to develop articles on governments affecting the most citizens.

The salary information garnered from these states were a combination of existing online resources and state Freedom of Information Act requests sent out to the governments.

Importance of public employee pay disclosure

In July 2010, The Los Angeles Times uncovered that officials in Bell, California were making remarkably high salaries.[8] Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo was earning a yearly $787,637. It was later uncovered that Rizzo's total compensation after taking benefits into account topped $1.5 million a year.[9]

For comparison:[8]

  • Manhattan Beach, with about 7,000 fewer people than Bell, paid its most recent city manager $257,484 a year.
  • Long Beach, with a population close to 500,000, paid its city manager $235,000 annually.
  • Los Angeles County paid its chief executive, William T. Fujioka, $338,458.

Corruption solution

After this report was released, governments began to proactively disclose salary information of their employees. Before the end of the summer of 2010, more than a dozen cities in Orange County, for example, posted salary information on the front pages of their websites.[10]

The cost of transparency websites maintaining such information ranges from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. These websites also save money, and this often is not taken into account when measuring costs.

Citizens upset about the breach of trust and armed with information formed a group called the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse, which pushed for an independent audit of city salaries and contracts.[11]

Citizens, empowered with information, are key to keeping government free from corruption and efficient. A study published by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia revealed that the city of Philadelphia has a problem with the efficiency and costs of public employee pensions.[12] The amount that Philadelphia pays to pension recipients limits the city’s ability to use its budget effectively.

The report revealed that there were more individuals receiving pension benefits—33,907 claimants in 2006—than workers in the city—28,701.[12] The authors of the study recommend three steps towards addressing the problem of high costs in pensions.[12] First, improve data collection so that decision-making in terms of pension policies is more informed. Second, promote transparency for better accountability to citizens. Third, reduce costs and use the savings for developing Philadelphia.

Resistance to public employee salary data as public records

The idea of making public employee salaries is relatively new. In 2008, several local government employee associations and unions protested the posting of state employee salaries by newspaper The Sacramento Bee.[13][14] At the time, it was seen as a safety risk and invasion of privacy.

Sunshine Review aims in posting salary information

Publicly posted salaries often leave out important information. Salary schedules can be published as ranges, not as specific take-home compensation, and high-level, highly-paid positions are often not disclosed proactively.[10][9] Additionally, salaries leave out compensation received through health and retirement benefits, as well as benefits such as commuter allowances and cell phone reimbursements. This project aimed to close the gap and provide a more accurate picture of public employee salaries for the sake of public education and transparency.

See also

External links


References