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Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) called huge pay raises to eight NJ Transit executives, including two political appointees, that came amidst continued delays and cancellations at the beleaguered transportation network tone-deaf on Wednesday.
“You know, the timing was really horrible,” Sherril said. “I’ve been hearing from my constituents day after day, week after week how bad their commute is. We even had a town hall before some of the trains were rerouted on the Montclair Boonton Line and were led to believe they had a plan that was going to be far smoother. In fact, this has been referred to the Summer of Hell II. We were told it was going to be far smoother. It’s been far worse.”
Last month, the New Jersey Globe reported the public transportation agency gave huge salary pumps to eight top officials, including two political appointees.
One official, Justin Davis, a former consultant for Gov. Phil Murphy’s 2017 campaign, had his salary go up from $156,000-per-year to $188,000-per-year.
William Viquerira, the New Jersey Transit CFO, got a raise from $180,000 annually to $215,00. Viquerira served as comptroller for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee Victory 2017 committee and as treasurer for Gov. Murphy’s inaugural committee.
NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said the salary increases were paid for by a restructuring that eliminated other positions at the agency.
The executives’ title changes, which were not publicly announced, correspond to new responsibilities, she said.
News of the raises comes as staffing shortages, mechanical problems and equipment shortages cause repeated delays and cancellations on one of the nation’s largest transit networks.
According to data compiled by NJ Advanced Media, the NJ Transit has averaged more than 100 cancellations per week since May 19.