Stipends Still in Play
Cedar Grove Council eliminates annual $4,000 stipend, but leave door ajar for other payments.
When the Cedar Grove Township Council unanimously approved a measure Monday night to eliminate stipends for all council members, they left the door slightly ajar for stipends to return in the future.
Although he wished to make the measure permanent, Township Attorney Thomas Scrivo informed the council they do not have the authority to do that.
Future councils can reinsert the stipend later on down the road, but it would require a public vote, said Scrivo.
“This council might change this years from now but that’s up to them,” said Deputy Mayor Robert O'Toole.
During the past several years, the council has approved the stipends when they approved the budget, but have quickly turned around and removed the payments.
Led by O’Toole, the council codified the measure put it in place because they have cut spending in other departments and want to show they can make the necessary cuts as well.
“We have asked departments to cut down on spending and we need to do the same,” O'Toole said. “We have plenty of volunteer organizations who aren't paid and I don't think we should have any kind of stipends.”
The council unanimously agreed to eliminate the stipends, but council members questioned other council expenditures, specifically the annual trip to the Atlantic City for the League of Municipalities meeting.
“I am in favor of doing away with the stipends,” Councilman Joseph Chiusolo said. “However there are times where we are spending money out of our own pocket to attend functions in the community,” he said.
“Historically the registration for Atlantic City has been paid for by the township,” Chiusolo said. “If a council member wants to attend, I do believe that council person should have the ability to have the township pay for registration.”
The council agreed to leave it up to each individual councilman for the Atlantic City trip.