Wayne’s World

WAYNE – Crass political moves usually succeed. So when they don’t, it’s time to stand up and cheer.

A majority on the township council here presumably felt they would have no trouble pushing through an ordinance changing the mayor’s job from part-time to full-time, and in the process, boosting Mayor Chris Vergano’s pay to $140,000 a year. The job now pays less than $20,000.

An ordinance to do just that was introduced earlier this month and a vote to adopt it was on the agenda for Wednesday night.

However, between the time of introduction and adoption, many residents got involved. They signed a rapidly-organized petition opposing the idea and voted overwhelmingly against it in an online survey by TAPinto Wayne.

And when the council assembled before an unusually crowded council chamber, the die seemed cast.

Vergano was not there, missing the meeting because of a medical issue, the council explained.

Franco Mazzei, the council president, began by saying there would be no vote on making the mayor a full-timer. That’s because the mayor had asked for the ordinance to be withdrawn. Unlike tabling a measure, which is just a delay, a withdrawal is as if the introduction never happened.

The council unanimously backed withdrawing the ordinance, but not before everyone had their say.

Francine Ritter, the lone Democrat on the council and an outspoken opponent of the proposal, said simply that the idea was “widely unpopular.”  She also said there was no official job description for a full-time mayor and no transparency in how the council suddenly introduced the change.

None of the council members said elevating the mayor to full-time was a good idea, even those who originally supported it. Public sentiment, one supposes, does matter.

However, some said the public outcry was a good thing.

Councilman David Varano said a council committee reviewing the proposal had constructive dialogue about it.

Fellow Councilman Jonathan Ettman scanned the congested room and said, “This is what we want to see.”

Such pious tributes to civic involvement, of course, have their limits.

This was a passionate issue and as is normal, emotions can get out of hand.

There were council comments decrying the fact that some critics had brought up the health of the mayor, who was identified as a “cancer survivor.”

Yes, politics certainly has a nasty side.

Councilwoman Jill Sasso objected to comments on the issue that she termed as “slander.” She added, “I think we’re better than that.”





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6 responses to “Wayne’s World”

  1. Thank You, Mr. Snowflack, for your coverage on Wayne’s mayoral charade. The residents of Wayne ; congratulations your commitment to unify , persevere ,and organize a well planned opposition is commendable. I watched the January 18,2023 council meeting tape very impressed with the attendance .

  2. Wayne Mayor Vergano wanted $140,000 for being a full-time mayor–plus the perks. I bet he would have stayed one term and then retired with the package.

    Second, the Wayne Business Manager does all the work in Wayne–at $165,000 per year, plus benefits. Then there is the Superintendent of Wayne Waste Water at $125,000 per year, plus benefits.

    What would the Mayor be doing at his full-time job earning $140,000/yr???????????????????

    Then there is the Chief of Police earns about $220,000 per year, plus benefits, with at least 6 other officers making more than the Chief. Almost 20 Wayne Police officers make $200,000 or more annually–plus benefits. Really???? Are Wayne cops that much better than other cops or the state police??? I doubt it.

    Time for the Wayne Residents to start looking at the WPD budget and demand to know why the police dept. has so many officers earning in excess of $150,000/yr. and why so many officers are earning in excess of $200,000/yr. Nice job if you can get it.

  3. Fellow Councilman Jonathan Ettman scanned the congested room and said, “This is what we want to see.”

    What council saw was a revolt by the voters and taxpayers for a stealth electoral bait and switch initiative that Ettman, and the others voted for to begin with.

    It should be noted that while the committee tasked with vetting the ‘immeadiate’ ordinance neglected to actually articulate their findings in a written report, electronic or otherwise with City Attorney Giaccobi (aka Cookie Monster) and town clerk directly the public to file an OPRA request, which will no doubt be subject to statute and redactions,

  4. Whereas:
    He, as holder of elective public office as Mayor of Wayne Township New Jersey did successfully endeavor to introduce Agenda Item #1-2023 at the January 4 2023 Wayne Township New Jersey Reorganization Meeting on an ‘immediate’ declared basis by demanding full time public employee status be conferred upon himself not otherwise afforded to The People of Wayne Township New Jersey, to be aided and abetted by the compliant majority vote of the Wayne Township New Jersey Township Council with full applicable retroactive Healthcare, Benefits and Pension including other privileges under the State of New Jersey public employee law from part time status at $18,000.00 per annum to $140,00.00 per annum during time of public health pandemic recovery and economic inflationary trends coupled with looming economic recessionary soundings, and in doing so did attempt to assert the second reading of Agenda Item #1-2023 on January 18 2023 for final and binding affirmation without the prior advise and consent of the governed, and that He, in concert with the assent of the compliant Wayne Township Council majority did appoint and reappoint favored individuals and politically like minded others to Boards and Commissions in furtherance of his schemes agendas and prerogatives.
    Therefore, comes now this petition to recall Mayor Christopher Vergano under applicable State of New Jersey law.

  5. Barry E sez:
    “FYI, while mayor Vergano has been mayor since 2008, his enrollment in NJ PERS was earlier, on 1/01/2002 with 240 pension months credit as of 12/31/2021 …. meaning 252 months at or 21 years as of 2/31/2022.

    Had he been appointed Full-time now at $140,000 (up from his current $18,748 Part-time salary) and retired after 3 years, his pension would have be calculated as though he had been full-time for the ENTIRE 24 years. His annual pension (at 24 years) would have increased from just about $8,200 to $61,100, and per internet annuity calculators for a male age 66, the above ANNUAL pensions have a value at the time of retirement in 3 years at age 66 of approximately $106K and $792K respectively.”

  6. In response to OPRA # 23-111 the Wayne Township Clerk reports there was no public job posting for a full time mayor at $140k with retroactive Healthcare, Benefits and Pension prior to the introduction of ‘Immediate’ Agenda Item #1-2023

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