Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Officials Spar with Sheriff's Attorney over Pay

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Officials Spar with Sheriff's Attorney over Pay

Article excerpt

Bergen County officials are at odds with the Sheriff's Office over how much John McCann, the attorney for Sheriff Michael Saudino, is supposed to be paid.

One year after approving a pay increase that effectively raised McCann's salary to $150,000, County Administrator Ed Trawinski has set it back to $110,000.

Trawinski contends the pay hike last year was meant only to temporarily compensate McCann for having not billed the county for any contract work in his first year on the job and that his salary should return to $110,000.

But McCann counters that his agreement with the sheriff always has been for $150,000. McCann acknowledges that he voluntarily chose to forgo some $40,000 in legal bills that he could have submitted during his first year in order to help reduce the sheriff's budget.

"There is no dispute with my employer [Saudino] as to the amount I'm to be paid," McCann said. "I'm to be paid the same amount as I've been paid since Day One."

Saudino's office did not return a call seeking comment.

This is the latest in a series of disputes between the administration and the Sheriff's Office since County Executive Kathleen Donovan and Saudino, both Republicans, took office in January 2011. McCann also is vice chairman of the Bergen County Republican Organization.

Donovan and Saudino previously have sparred over spending items ranging from uniforms for his undersheriffs to the contract negotiated with the union representing sheriff's officers.

A review of the public records related to McCann's salary shows how the disagreement developed.

A Dec. 22, 2011, letter from Executive Undersheriff Steven Librie to Trawinski states that McCann became a full-time employee in December 2011 with an annual salary of $110,000. The letter notes that McCann elected not to participate in the county's medical benefits program.

At an April 20, 2012, budget hearing before the freeholders, McCann noted that he had elected not to submit bills for any legal work. …

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