Thursday, February 21, 2008

Aberdeen’s Councilmen Vote Themselves a Raise

“No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”
- United States Constitution, 27th Amendment

This week, Aberdeen’s elected representatives on the town council voted unanimously to give themselves a 7.7% raise. In sharp contrast to the district’s board of education, these folk don’t work for free. Why did they give themselves a raise? Because they could. Do they deserve a raise? Depends on who you ask. Does the unanimous vote reflect the will of the people? Absolutely not.

Measuring an elected official’s performance is an inherently subjective endeavor. Mayor Sobel and crew obviously believe they’re doing a terrific job and eminently worthy of a pay hike. But are there any objective standards to suggest they’re doing a great job?

One objective standard is the recent election where Democrats swept all four council seats at stake. But each winning candidate only won by a plurality; a majority of voters opposed their candidacies. By extension, we could assume that most residents would oppose giving salary increases to these same people.

Another standard is the one set by Ronald Reagan in 1980 – Are we better off? The best way to measure that is by home values. Considering the housing stock in our area is fairly flat, home prices are a reflection of people’s desire to live here. The more desirable the neighborhood, the more prices rise. Obviously, there are economic and regional factors as well, so we need to compare the change in local market prices with the overall area.

Over the past ten years, home values in our neighborhood rose lockstep with Monmouth County in percentage terms. At best, the town council can claim to have done no harm.

Perhaps we can use the Janet Jackson standard - What have you done for me lately? The town council could demonstrate how they’ve held the line on municipal taxes. Unfortunately, that claim rings hollow when Aberdeen has the third highest tax rate in Monmouth County.

Of course, the town could point to all the improvements made to infrastructure, public parks, and the like. But if these were so exceptional, wouldn’t they be reflected in home prices?

Meanwhile, all the major projects remain on standby – the transit village, Anchor Glass, Aberdeen Forge, shore development, etc.

The town council may be right to think the voters will forget by the next election cycle. Mayor Sobel may be right to think most voters won’t care. But none of that makes it right for them to pad their pockets with our money. Who’s to say the council members have a greater entitlement to taxpayer money than the taxpayers themselves.

On a side note, I’d like to offer my best wishes to former town manager, Stuart Brown. Mr. Brown is a public servant who believes, in word and deed, that government exists to serve the people and not the other way around. I pray that all public servants should pursue that same ideal.
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Anonymous said...

Good job aberdeener. They must have taken a page out of the Corzine book when he gave raises to judges in these economic times.
They believe we are stupid and will forget about it at election time.
We will not forget.

Anonymous said...

Only four members were present for the vote -- it would be interesting for all seven to be polled individually. How many of them run for office to serve the people and not themselves?

Anonymous said...

The gred and orcestrating of every aspect of government in Aberdeen has been for far too long controlled by Norman Kaupff. By the way was Norman Kaupff ever elected to his position?

Every Aberdeen resident needs to question the power of such a man as well as the negative and to say the least costly effects a Norman Kaupff has inflicted on all of us for many years. He and his puppets have raped Aberdeen for years and it is time it stops. Enough is enough and one also has to wonder why the authorities have not clapped the irons on Norman Kaupff and his assorted cronies.

Anonymous said...

As a former Green Party candidate for Council in Aberdeen, I feel there should be absolutely no compensation for the position. Serving the public should be compensation enough for any political office. If someday I wind up on the Council, I will work to eliminate the stipend.

--Paul Rinear

Aberdeener said...

Norm Kauff is certainly the Puppet Master of Aberdeen. However, to my knowledge, he has never held elective office or been connected to anything illegal.

Anonymous said...

ABERDEENER As a forty plus year ABERDEENER Start looking into Norman and his control of your town.

OPRA stands for Open Public Records Act. Start asking questions of your elected officials and you will quickly see their allegiances lie under Norman Kaupff and the others who control them.

The Aberdeen council is a joke and you do not have to look that hard to see that or find their connection to Kaupff.

It is a shame my wife always says.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous hit it right on the head. Norman Kauff and his den of thieves have cost all of us dearly. But are we not the ones who are to blame.
Year after year Council stays the same due to a republican party that cannot field a responsible candidiate. County Chairman Puharic needs to look into his own front yard and not so much towards keeping himself as the supposed saviour of the party.

Aberdeens own residents need to start asking questions about development possibilities before it is too late.

Anonymous said...

My wife used to work for another engineering company with strong political connections it was widely known that the true and costly power and control Kauff had over CME of Sayreville NJ was costly to the citizens of Aberdeen.

Like anonymous stated yesterday all someone has to do is start asking where the money goes. Always follow the money trail.

Anonymous said...

As I am new to this site and the anonymous responses concerning this Norman Kauff person I put his name into Google and found that he has quite the cottage industry. It seem Norman Kauff has spread his legal services all over the area and has been often criticized and most recently his legal services were questioned in Hazlet. It was obvious from the responses from Hazlets leadership who seemed to hem and haw as to what if any services Norman Kauff really provided. Perhaps the services are to yield power and influence while gouging the citizens of the towns he snakes himself into. Of course from additional readings on Norman Kauff and his kind has led me early on to conclude that Norman Kauff has far too much influence and control over the Aberdeen leadership. The ship is obviously captained by Norman Kauff and his ship of fools, the Aberdeen Twp. council.

Anonymous said...

Someone should just ask each of them point blank at a council meeting if they will give up their salary. Maybe a petition drive?!

Anonymous said...

Give up their salries you have a better chance of getting an explanation as to why the former Manager Staurt Brown abruptly resigned his position.

Do not kid yourself Norman Kauff was obviously displeased or was not getting his fees or paybacks for his cronies. Nothing happens in Aberdeen unless that old fool makes the call and his mindless soldiers follow his orders blindly and without question.

Whatever happened to leaders like
Lincoln? Whatever happened to honesty and service on behalf of the people.

Aberdeener needs to ask some very specific questions at the next council meeting.

Gotta go that old train is calling me again. Next stop Rahway. Good day to all.

Anonymous said...

And you're surprised that they voted themselves a raise. Sobel and his musketeers need to show a raise in pay to hide the money and gifts they get from developers, C.M.E., and others who are beholding to Kauff.

Honesty in governement does not exist in Aberdeen or anywhere in New Jersey for that matter. My wife and I came here 37 years ago and now that our children are grown and the taxes are choking us we have to go. So if anybody wants to buy a well maintained country clubber in the I section, let me know.

Maybe I can get Norman kauff to handle my closing before he gets indicted. O'h wait I forgot this is New Jersey whre Kauff is more than likely to get a cabinet post in the Corzine cabinet than be investigated.

Our house is for sale and obviously Kauff holds the deed for the selling of Aberdeen.

It is laughable, sadly laughable.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it about time Sobel goes? What is he, a career politician? Maybe ABERDEENER will throw his hat into the ring.

Anonymous said...

Hello from the overnight shift.

Heard about this site at breakfast the other day and thought I would take a look while I watch the screens.

I am amazed at the venom spewed at this Kauff character. Can such a person really exist and if he does he needs to be exposed if he does all of these things.

Firstly the Aberdeener needs to get the word out with some signs placed around Aberdeen to get people interested. I only heard about it by over-hearing a conversation by a young couple at Perkins yesterday.

People need to find out about these topics. But I really think some of the Aberdeeners info needs to be solid and be able to be backed up by fact. Last year I had to get some info from the school board and they do not make it easy.

I can imagine if I was to go into the halls of the town and start asking about Norman kauff and his relationships with all of the different agencies or billed services I would get abot as far as a turtle in a race. I am certain it would be slow in coming and have the typical black lines through a lot of it. Like in that movie conspiracy. If all of the employees and offices in town hall are afraid of this Kauff guy they might fear losing their jobs. Although a friend of mine did the right thing and blew the whistle at his company and it took him a long time to recover. The saving grace for him was he sued them all professionally and then went after them privately, that really hurt them. O'h yes always go after their personal assets. Just because they are politicians does not mean they cannot be brought into civil court for defamation and slander.

My co worker got a total of 965,000.00 dollars most of which was for the actions taken against him after work when he was let go from his position. He also got a total of 1.6 million for pain and suffering. I even think his wife got money for her anguish.

Shine the light Aberdeener. Great job.

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Vinci and Gumbs get a freebee and what will happen? Nothing. Life goes on in Aberdeen.

Will the county prosecutor check into it ? If you belive that Norman Kauff has some land to sell you near the train station.

Anonymous said...

The anonymous comment from #15 was great. Norman Kauff has some land to sell you by the train station.

Five generations of my family have lived in Aberdeen and I can remember when the Sultans Wok *GREAT SUSHI by the way, was Dutchies Italian Restaurant.

Years ago we had safe streets, imigrants were able to speak english, a local cop ran the numbers, everything was simpler back then.

Now I am 63 and I log onto a computer when I used to get the news about politicians on the take at our local barber shop.

Politicians are like cockroaches, but Norman Kauff and his kind have ruined the area. If you can't get it done they always said you should just talk to Norman Kauff, and a few others along the way. But even the likes of Norman kauff have somehow stayed out of the newspapers and out of court rooms as defendants.

Pay to play has now become pay to live. Was a time not to long ago the likes of the black hand would take care of things. When did lawyers like Norman kauff and politicians become worse than the Mafia. At least with the mafia you knew you were getting robbed. These low lifes smile when they screw you, and nobody says a word.

Nothing personal its just business. Is'nt that right Norman Kauff.

Anonymous said...

It is simple. They give themselves raises to match the taxes they raised.
This way the council does not feel the pinch.
Socialists - that is who they are

Anonymous said...

This may be a few months old but I was just introduced to this site. I wonder why the council approved such a high increase 7.7% for themselves when the average increase approved for most employees recent contracts was at4 to 5%. How nice it must be to control the purse strings!