Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver said she was not aware of huge raises given to eight NJ Transit executives, including two political appointees, before they were reported by the New Jersey Globe.
“Absolutely not,” Oliver said when asked if she knew about the raises before their publication.
At a press conference on the signing of a series of gun violence intervention bills on Monday, Oliver declined to say if she was aware of the raises before their publication, citing the off-topic nature of the question.
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.
She said Wednesday that she did not approve of the pay hikes.
“I think that when you look at the experience that our commuters have had in the past couple of months, especially during the summer … that’s, I think, egregious to a commuter who just wants to get to work, get home, get to their kids, summertime,” Oliver said. “And I don’t think that was the appropriate thing to do, especially if there’s no rhyme or reason to it.”
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.
It’s not clear which positions were eliminated at this time, nor does Oliver appear to have been informed about the reasons behind the salary increases.
“Was it based on performance, was it based on experience? Were there perimeters established? I mean, I just know what I read in the newspaper. I read that everybody was made a vice president. What was the basis of that?” Oliver said. “But no, I don’t think that’s appropriate.”