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Union leaders, DiVincenzo spar over salary hike caps

By Nikita Biryukov, August 14 2018 12:06 pm

Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo is headed for a fight with the state’s public unions.

On Tuesday, New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan and New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association President Ed Donnelly pushed back on a call to cap extend the 2% cap on salary hikes for police and fire employees.

“It is disturbing to see that just a few short months after the lapse of Governor Christie’s 2-percent arbitration cap we already have a public official calling for its reinstatement,” the two said in a joint statement.  “None of the data has changed and it remains as true as it was when Governor Christie was using the bully pulpit to outline his false narratives that arbitration caps can control or reduce property taxes.”

DiVincenzo said the cap had allowed the County to limit raises to police and fire employees to 1.65% over eight years. Worried that the cap’s lapse would allow police and fire employees to sue for higher raises, DiVincenzo called for the state’s Democratic leaders to reinstate the limit.

It’s likely for that very reason that Colligan and Donnelly aren’t fans of DiVincenzo’s push.

“Of course, County Executive DiVincenzo was among the chief cheerleaders for former Governor Christie from the very first day of his Administration, so it comes as no surprise that he would be pining away for ‘the good old days’ when it was standard practice to duck the responsibility of leadership and demonize our members,” the union leaders said. “The County Executive should change his party affiliation.”

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