Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

New Finance Chief Got Retroactive Raises in Past Job

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

New Finance Chief Got Retroactive Raises in Past Job

Article excerpt

PATERSON - The city's newly appointed finance director received $28,000 in retroactive pay increases in her position as West New York's chief financial officer just a month before she got the job in Paterson, according to payroll sheets she signed.

City administration officials have cited the appointee's $153,000 salary in West New York as part of the reason Paterson agreed to pay Margaret Cherone $140,000 to take the finance director's job, saying she would not have accepted less.

But payroll records in West New York show that for her first 34 months as that town's chief financial officer - from July 2012 through April 2015 - Cherone had been paid $125,000. Cherone's signatures on all three forms authorizing the retroactive raises are dated May 4, 2015.

"This isn't passing the smell test," said Councilman Kenneth Morris, who heads the council's finance committee. "I find it curious that the retroactive pay increases came only one month prior to her departure from West New York."

The council approved Cherone's appointment, including the $140,000 salary, on June 10. But Morris is asking his colleagues to rescind the resolution that included Cherone's salary and to vote on a substitute measure with no stipulated salary.

Cherone did not respond to a message left seeking comment.

Nellie Pou, Paterson's business administrator, said Cherone told her the retroactive pay increases had been provided for under Cherone's employment contract with West New York. In response to Morris' recent objections to Cherone's Paterson salary, Pou on Monday sent council members copies of three personnel requisition forms authorizing Cherone's West New York raises.

One form said her salary would rise from $125,000 to $140,000 effective Aug. 1, 2013. A second said her pay would increase to $143,000 effective Feb. 1, 2014, and then go to $150,000 effective Aug. 1, 2014. The third said her salary would become $153,000, effective Feb. 1, 2015.

In addition to Cherone's signatures, the forms also are signed by someone under the space for the town's chief of administrative services. …

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