LoGrippo to Get Full Year's Pay for Half Year's Work
Appointed third ward councilman to receive full dollar.
Looks like Councilman Mark LoGrippo could go wild in the Dollar Store if he wanted to at the end of his six-month term.
Town officials confirmed that the new third ward councilman, who was appointed by the Town Council to fill an unexpired term last month, will claim a full year’s salary. That’s right, LoGrippo will receive a full dollar for his term.
Town Administrator Jim Gildea said that under past town precedent LoGrippo will receive a dollar check sometime during his term of office, instead of a prorated check for fifty cents. Gildea said he did not know when LoGrippo will receive the check, noting that Mayor Andy Skibitsky and the other eight council members who have served in 2011 have already received their paychecks for the year.
Town Council members are paid in one lump sum and not in installments spread out over the year.
Gildea said that LoGrippo will be paid once the town passes an ordinance authorizing his salary. The town ordinance for Council salaries for 2011 authorized payment for all Council members serving prior to LoGrippo's appointment. Gildea said he did not know when the ordinance will go before the Council, but said it would before the end of LoGrippo's term on Dec. 31.
LoGrippo’s predecessor, Mark Ciarrocca, who resigned to become a state judge, has been paid a dollar for his final six months on the Council. LoGrippo was chosen by town Republicans to fill Ciarrocca’s seat for the remainder of his term.
There is one catch to LoGrippo’s check – and those of his colleagues – town tradition forbids cashing it. To keep with the volunteer nature of the post, all town officials – Democrat or Republican – do not cash their paychecks. Local legend has it that a councilman who served about a decade ago cashed several paychecks at one point, prompting him to payback the town for the money.
LoGrippo said he would follow past tradition and not cash his check.
The town votes to cancel the paychecks six months after they are issued in order to prevent any accidental cashings. Most Council members have said they save the checks – which are signed by Skibitsky, Town Clerk Claire Gray and Town Treasurer Liy-Huei Tsai.
Former Councilwoman Darielle Walsh, the last person to serve a six-month term on the Council said she did receive a dollar for her service, a check she has saved as a memento of her time as third ward councilwoman. Walsh served in 2005 after Skibitsky was appointed mayor to succeed former Mayor Greg McDermott, who resigned. Walsh lost the 2005 election to Councilman Dave Haas.
Westfield's pay checks pale in comparison to neighboring communities, including Plainfield and Linden, which pay several thousand a year to local officials, Garwood which pays $1,500 a year and Cranford, which pays $2,000 a year. Union County freeholders receive $30,000 a year for the part time posts.
Westfield officials do trump Summit's political class in the pay department though. Mayor Jordan Glatt and others in the Hill City receive no pay for their service. Over at the Board of Education, BOE President Julia Walker and her eight colleagues are in the same camp as Glatt, receiving no pay.