Elected Officials Just Voted Themselves a Raise in Lacey Township

FORKED RIVER – Elected officials in all-Republican Lacey Township just quietly voted themselves a salary increase in excess of 40%, public records obtained this week revealed.

According to documents provided by Lacey officials in response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request Thursday, salary increases for the mayor and township committee were authorized as a part of an ordinance originally passed in March and approved at a second reading in April. In addition to authorizing salary increases for township elected officials, the ordinance set salaries for other township positions.

The township committee

For 2017, the mayor of the township will receive $11,000 in compensation, while committee members will receive $10,000 each. The new salaries represent an increase for the mayor of $3,500 and committee members will receive a yearly increase in the amount of $3000. Last year, the mayor was compensated $7,500 for their service while committee members were previously paid $7,000 per year, according to the documents.

From the new salary ordinance

The salary hike amounts to a 42.85% increase in pay for township committee members, while the mayor’s pay increases by 46.66% under the new ordinance.

Until these documents became public, details on what the exact increase amounted to were unclear, but the raise did become a controversy at a recent public meeting of Lacey’s elected officials.

“Did you guys give yourself a 40% raise?” questioned Lacey resident and volunteer firefighter Kevin Flynn. Elected officials initially responded evasively but defended the salary increase in light of Flynn’s scrutiny.

“I am not sure what the exact percent was,” Lacey Mayor Peter Curatolo said. “On par with the other 32 municipalities ours is exceedingly low,” he said of the recently approved salary increase. Curatolo claimed that it was the first incremental increase the governing body had in 13 years. At one point, Curatolo claimed that the compensation received as a committeeman is “less than minimum wage” when compared to the hours that are put in to effectively do the job.

When asked by Flynn, Lacey’s CFO was not able to provide the exact percentage of the increase, but did say she was familiar with the ordinance that authorized it.

To compensate for the new ordinance, the 2017 Lacey municipal budget identified that $51,000 has been appropriated for township committee salaries this year, up from $35,500 last year.

From page 19 of the budget

Those in Lacey may be taking some cues from the township that borders them to the north, Berkeley, where Mayor Carmen Amato did the same thing (albeit at a different amount) in a hastily passed municipal budget last year.

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Gavin Rozzi

Gavin Rozzi is the editor of Ocean County Politics and a lifelong Ocean County resident, residing in Lacey Township. Gavin's work centers on the intersection of money and politics in Ocean County, with a focus on public corruption. In 2017 he created New Jersey's first statewide freedom of information portal, OPRAmachine.com. He can be reached via email at editor@politicsoc.com or via phone at (732)-504-3636 ext. 1 or on encrypted phone / text app Signal.

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39 Responses

  1. Im Trump the 25 mil FRAUD says:

    Do any members of the current TC receive free to them Medical benefits or do they receive compensation for not taking it?

    • John Doe says:

      I wonder how much we pay for each Committee person’s insurance, both health, life, dental etc and how much is their pension for this part time job? Do they get an expense account? If so, how much is that? Is their gas and use of car reimbursed at the IRS rate?

  2. Im Trump the 25 mil FRAUD says:

    Mr Macdonald should you and the Tc be taking a raise if you cant sleep at night?
    Should the town be building the Sunrise extension if you cant sleep at night?
    Why not put your raise on the Nov Ballot?
    Why not cap ALL Muni Workers salary?
    Why not hire a landscaping co to cut the grass
    Clean house at the schools

  3. Im Trump the 25 mil FRAUD says:

    Perhaps Mr Reid and the TC would like to share what the “community plan” is?

  4. Jay says:

    What about the 2% cap?

  5. John Doe says:

    I’d like to know what exact days and hours Mr. Reid works for his $90,780.00 per year. Does he also work another job? What exactly is his job description and what experience makes him qualified to hold this position?

  6. Im Trump the 25 mil FRAUD says:

    Who is Jesse Ehrnstrom? Any chance you could do a story about them and their ideas or beliefs?
    Write in Gavin Rozzi for TC

    • USAFWX says:

      He is a 20 something who has been arrested for drug possession in the past. He’d be perfect!

      • Gavin Rozzi says:

        I do not know him, but I did ask him for his thoughts on the raise last night on my Facebook comment thread. Here’s what his response was:

        • Jasper Duck molds says:

          Come on sir, then how can they hire there kid’s and family members to work at these authorities then? Some Authorities have multiple family members working there, what a country we all live in when this is the norm.

          • Layseeturduckin says:

            Jasper . I thought it was not allowed, the hiring of multiple immediate family members at the same authority (LMUA), I think you may be wrong in that instance.

      • Im Trump the 25 mil FRAUD says:

        As opposed to the current and past RepubliCON tax and spend and Friends N Family Plan?
        Yep the Republicons are doing a Great Job NOT
        McDonald cant sleep at night but takes a raise and they do what again Then bond and spend money on a not needed road so folks in Sunrise can get to Lacey rd faster while screwing the rest of the town! brilliant
        Any chance you can interview Mr Reid and the TC and ask what exactly is the “community plan”
        When is Trump gong to fix the roads and bring a widget factory to the Pineys?
        Write in Gavin Rozzi
        Don’t forget the OCUA does the same thing

        • USAFWX says:

          You asked who he is and I answered. No need to have a temper tantrum.

          He was arrested in 2013 and 2014 for drug possession.

          • Im Trump the 25 Mil Fraud says:

            And now back to reality

            As opposed to the current and past RepubliCON tax and spend and Friends N Family Plan?
            Yep the Republicons are doing a Great Job NOT
            What has Nicky Nepotism done?

            Write in Gavin Rozzi

      • Jesse says:

        There is much more to me. Feel free to email me whenever jehrnstrom34@gmail.com

    • Jesse says:

      Hi, this is Jesse Ehrnstrom. I would love to answer any questions you have, email me at jehrnstrom34@gmail.com

      To address the elephant, I was, in fact, arrested for possession of marijuana. I am far from a criminal, I paid my fees, I did not resist arrest, I work very hard, have matured thoroughly since 2014, and I care very much about the future of Lacey. I’m twenty-four years old, and I have lived in this town my entire life. I plan on living here for decades longer, and I plan on working with every citizen’s needs by modernizing the committee. Can you send a message to Pete curatolo or nick jiuliano the very second an idea that might help the township pops into your head? Not if you are a random citizen of the township, you get two chances a month to use your voice right now, and if you work every Thursday night you are out of luck. What is that? It’s 2017. Not everyone works nine to five… I want the connection between committee and constituencies to be strong and immediate. It should be easy to converse with your employees, and if you are a Lacey resident, I want you to be my boss. And I’ll be the best damn employee you’ve got.

      Email me whenever: jehrnstrom34@gmail.com

      • Im Trump da 25 mil Fraudster says:

        What is your plan for the town?

        • Jesse says:

          My plan? We need to start creating new revenue! Property taxes have grown 200% in less than a decade. Putting a Taco Bell on every corner isn’t going to lower property tax rates, especially not when we have the power plant looming above our heads, where our MAYOR isn’t even 100% sure that we will be receiving the $11.5m from the state post-2019. Right now, Lacey’s eggs are in two baskets: property taxes and the power plant. When someone takes that very important basket away, we end up with 8% property taxes or holes in every road and layoffs. We have the sun, we have wind. Veronica, with the seeming agreement of the committee, believes that solar and wind are dead industries.. I was extremely surprised to hear that come from the administrator. The committee was seemingly against the HARP (heroin addiction response program), which chief Dibella just recently implemented into our town. January 12th’s town hall meeting, curatolo told me how the HARP would not be as effective as our current method: punishment and education. There’s no compassion in that statement, and there’s no logic to that statement either.

          There’s 5 republicans on our committee; where’s the diversity? Where’s the thought exchange? I haven’t even heard Juliano respond to any constituents when we come to the town meetings, and I watch them on YouTube if I miss them; he is our deputy mayor and has nothing to say unless it’s in the meeting’s agenda? I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to work at all. If you want someone who will be active and actually listen to you, while promoting new ideas and smart investments, someone who would consider being on the committee their first-priority, then you should vote Ehrnstrom in November..

          4-1 is better than 5-0

          • Im Don the Con says:

            Can you meet with the Community Development Director to see what idea he has?
            I agree Taco Bell and a drive way extension for Sunrise while forcing the rest of us to pay is wrong and not needed
            Any idea what will happen to the medium income when the plant closes?
            Any idea who owns the landlocked property west of the road behind Penn Ave?
            If elected do you plan to hire any of your friends and family?
            Will you try to fire Happy Gilmore?
            Will you try and outsource most of Lacey Rd?
            Jail doesn’t work but rehab and a ton of Community service and perhaps a real job might help

          • Jesse Ehrnstrom says:

            I would love to meet with the community development director. I want to talk about the future of Lacey with the right people as soon as possible. The power plant closing shouldn’t have any immediate effect on the median income. The employees at the power plant are typically union workers and there is a decommissioning schedule of 40-60 years. However, the legislature involved with the state providing our township with the $11.5m is only guaranteed as long as the power plant is providing energy. The committee seems to be banking on the state keeping their word.

            I am not sure who owns that property, but I’ll look into it. I do not plan on hiring or appointing anyone in my family, and George Gilmore should have been fired a long time ago. I couldn’t believe my ears the first time I heard our township attorney evades more than a million dollars in taxes and is still even remotely respected by the committee, let alone held to such a high position.

            I’m not 100% sure what you mean by ‘outsource Lacey rd’ so if you could elaborate, I’d be happy to respond as thoroughly as possible. The drug epidemic has gone on far too long and our mayor and deputy mayor think they are doing a great job in preventing it. I’m sorry if I’m the one who’s opening the newspaper and showing the committee the amount of people just from our town who are dying, but someone has to do it. The police do a spectacular job at catching the criminals, however, the addicts don’t get better in jail at all; they get worse and meet new drug dealers and users. It’s time to change something.


          • Im Don the Con says:

            I like your positions
            I think it would be great if Gavin could arrange a meeting with the Community Development and perhaps the Chamber of Commerce and post the video for those of us who can not see it and who are unable to see it for any number of reasons
            I d also like to see a debate on Lacey issues
            What I meant by “outsourcing Lacey Rd” is to audit the township employees and get rid of any positions that are NOT needed
            In my opinion the TC can not continue to raise taxes every yr
            Salaries and Benefits for ALL TOWNSHIP EMPLOEES needs to be capped and if they are unhappy please feel free to quit

          • Jesse says:

            I’m going to ask around and see if I can get in touch with the right people and hopefully get a solid conversation in with the community development director on his image of Lacey over the next ten years so we can negotiate ideas on how to improve the best we can for the generations growing up right now. If I’m not mistaken, the high school kids host a debate and it should be televised and put on YouTube, but I’m open to as much activity as possible, and Gavin Rozzi may always feel free to contact me at jehrnstrom34@gmail.com or on Facebook. I’ll also be walking around town soon, so hopefully we will get to meet face to face.

            I have been looking at the appointed positions throughout our township and any position that cannot be justified to the taxpayer shouldn’t exist. Some people were making thousands of dollars a year for doing what? I’d love to find out and put it all on the table, that’s for sure.

          • Im Don the Con says:

            Perhaps when you attend a TC Meeting you could ask if the TC could make the Community Development Director available like they do with other Dept heads?

  7. tr says:

    The president has now been set. Every 13 years 40% maximum. Just my opinion.

    • Im Trump the 25 Mil Fraud says:

      I’m still wondering what they do besides raise taxes tell you the parks are great the town is great and hire their friends N family oh yeah tell ya about the heroin problem
      Mr Reid what are the plans for the “community”?
      Perhaps you could tell us who owns the land locked property adjacent to the road
      Write in Gavin Rozzi for TC and expose the Friends N Family Plan

  8. Im Don the Con says:

    So I turn on the TC and its still June meeting
    But wait what do I hear?
    These clowns give themselves a 3 k raise and then decide only 1 meeting a month during the Summer?
    What is the Community Development plan?
    What is the “Master Plan” I don’t think there is one except the Friends N Family Plan as taxes continue to rise every yr
    Giving tax breaks to low income housing isn’t going to raise revenue
    I wonder what legal extortion was gamed from Taco Bell perhaps a stop sign? or a traffic light
    Spending tax payer money for the Republicon Club of Sunrise for a driveway extension is not the best way to spend tax payer money when it will NOT benefit most of the town
    So who owns that land locked parcel west of the road behind Penn Ave?

  9. USAFWX says:

    Jesse, I’ve been reading your comments and although you want to know a lot about how things are done, you really have no plan to offset what is the real elephant in the room and that is the closure of the power plant and its energy tax ratables it currently provides (currently around $11 million). Since the power plant will soon not be producing power, how can anyone continue to be reliant on a tax that is on energy production? Why not propose moving back to a property tax for that 700 plus acres of land plus a storage fee for the nuclear waste until such time that we get someone to build a natural gas plant there? Additionally, I see our properties losing value after 2019 so that will be more lost revenue for the township. How do you propose offsetting that loss?

    Now onto the 5-0 vs 4-1. There really is no difference between parties at the local level so I cannot see it being better or worse with a (D) in a seat. I would prefer seeing ideas voted on instead of letters at the local level.

    Finally, were your charges misdemeanors or felonies? Are you related to the Ehrnstoms by the lake?

    • Don the Con says:

      LOL what a funny guy
      If in fact the money from the plant is gone what the TC is going to do is RAISE TAXES just like they always do
      Its not a case of the value of homes will decrease they will just adjust the rate to reflect the loss in value and spend more tax payer money to re access the town
      Since you seem to love the TC what exactly is THEIR PLAN?
      What is the Community Development Friend N Family members plan since he is getting paid
      What was extorted from Taco Bell?
      You should start a go fund me page for Don the Con and Con Jr
      Jared and Manafort

      • USAFWX says:

        “Since you seem to love the TC what exactly is THEIR PLAN? ”

        This is the only thing worth responding too and it is a very good question. However, I definitely DO NOT love the TC. Maybe you should go to the next meeting and ask them.

        • Don the Con says:

          I watched the meeting Mc Donald said it keeps him up at night right after he voted himself a raise then took the Summer off ie 1 meeting a month
          The Mayors plan is not on his watch which it wont be because he wont be Mayor then
          They have NO PLAN except to Raise TAXES every yr to fund the Friends and Family for votes plan
          Why don’t you take a jog over to the meeting and you ask what the Community Development Director for 100 k does all day
          Besides you are closer to Lacey rd too much traffic on LBD

          • USAFWX says:

            I care more about the school budget than I do about the municipal budget because that is where a bulk of our property taxes come from. You are the one who seems to want to know what “THEIR PLAN” is so go to a meeting and ask. You are against the by-pass road so go to a meeting and express your opinion. Don’t worry about the bonds that have already been sold for it and the waste of money by the rail-trail crew suing at every turn. As long as the road isn’t built, you win.

          • Don The Con says:

            If your heroes would have listened to the voters in the first place no tax payer money would be wasted. I find it funny how in their words “cant sleep at night” with regard to plant closing but buy 3 new DPW trucks 2 new cop cars and 2 new ambulances
            if you are so worried about the school budget go to a meeting? take your own advice call for an audit? Just how many deans do we need for that shitty school system?
            Where is Regina?
            The winner when the Sunrise extension is built which wont do shit for you on LBD is a certain member who owns property behind Penn Ave which is land locked Daddy
            The rest of us just get the bill shoved up our ass

          • USAFWX says:

            I voted for and the referendum passed concerning the road. Sorry if you do not like that fact! I go to school Board meetings. I vote for other people to become members every time. We are on the same page concerning the School Board.

            Have you seen the police vehicles on the lot? Ambulances at each of the volunteer houses? The only thing I didn’t like is that they voted themselves a 100% raise for meeting once a month and showing up at events.

          • Don the Con says:

            Do you know which of your heroes is the conflicted one who s family owns the land locked property behind Penn Ave? I do
            Let me explain this to you again the fact is the road was voted down the first time. The road will not do shit for you on LBD and that is a fact. it is a waste of money and is nothing more then a driveway extension for Sunrise Republicon Club Again if you “cant sleep at night ” and continue the friends N family plan and continue to spend money and give yourselves a raise and take more time off is a sad joke but the raise should pay for the tax increases that will continue to come You do know they are putting cops in the schools right? What I’m going to do is this when its time to move and the time is coming soon I’m going to rent my home to section 8 so when the plant closes and the taxes continue to rise and the value continues down I will still make money
            Where is Regina? I thought she was going to get in there and dig up the dirt? Spending up students down Friends N Family alive and well How about the TC invite the Community Development Director he of the 100k to a monthly meeting and give us the tax payers his out look and plan?
            Beep Beep down LBD

          • Don The Con says:

            Check out 7 8 9 10
            spend spend spend and everybody get s a raise
            July 13, 2017


            1. First reading of Ordinance #2017-19 authorizing the re-appropriation of funding for the Bayside Beach Dredging project

            2. Second reading of Ordinance #2017-18 amending various section of the municipal code, entitled Zoning

            3. Resolution #2017-183 awarding a contract for the Bayberry Village Resurfacing, Phase 3 Project

            4. Resolution #2017-184 awarding a contract for the Wallis Park Tot Lot Renovations

            5. Resolution #2017-185 awarding a contract for the Wallis Park Basketball Court Rehabilitation project

            6. Resolution #2017-186 awarding a contract for the purchase of Two Ford F-250 Trucks

            7. Resolution #2017-187 awarding a contract for the remounting of Two Ambulances

            8. Resolution #2017-188 awarding a contract for the purchase of One Ford E-350

            9. Resolution #2017-189 awarding a contract for the purchase of Two Ford Explorer Police Interceptors

            10. Resolution #2017-190 authorizing various promotions in accordance with the 2017 Municipal budget approvals

            11. Resolution #2017-191 accepting retirements from various municipal employees

            12. Resolution #2017-192 renewing plenary retail consumption licenses

            13. Resolution #2017-193 authorizing the Tax collector to participate in the State Electronic Tax Sale

            14. Resolution #2017-194 fixing the cost for the Tax Sale mailings

            15. Resolution #2017-195 authorizing the issuance of a duplicate tax sale certificate

            16. Resolution #2017-196 authorizing the release of a maintenance guarantee to HA Dehart & Son, Inc.

            17. Resolution #2017-197 authorizing the release of a performance guarantee for the Bayberry Village Resurfacing, Phase 2 Project

            18. Resolution #2017-198 authorizing the placement of a lien on block 433, lot 26 for property maintenance

            19. Resolution #2017-199 authorizing the placement of a lien on block 374, lot 48.01 for property maintenance

            20. Resolution #2017-200 authorizing the placement of a lien on block 101.02, lot 1 for property maintenance

            21. Resolution #2017-201 authorizing the placement of a lien on block 101.12, lot 21 for property maintenance

            22. Resolution #2017-202 authorizing the placement of a lien on block 166, lot 8 for property maintenance

            23. Resolution #2017-203 authorizing the placement of a lien on block 1631.01, lot 1.01 for property maintenance

            24. Resolution #2017-204 authorizing the placement of a lien on block 1626.05, lot 2 for property maintenance

            25. Resolution #2017-205 authorizing the refund of a road opening permit fee

            26. Resolution #2017-206 authorizing the cancellation of taxes due to a 100% Disabled Veteran Exemption

            27. Resolution #2017-207 authorizing the refund of deposits

            28. Resolution #2017-208 authorizing the payment of Township Bills

            29. Monthly Reports

            30. Motion to approve Caucus Meeting Minutes of June 8, 2017

            31. Motion to approve Township Meeting Minutes of June 8, 2017

            32. Motion to approve Raffle License Applications for the Lacey Football Foundation, BPOE Lacey Elks, PTA Forked River School, Lacey Historical Society and the LTHS Booster Association

    • Don the Con says:

      Ideas voted on” The tax payers of Lacey tried that with the road it didn’t work out so well for the tax payers
      Jesse said he would like a meeting with the Community Development Director. Hey how much were those creates again?
      Perhaps you could ask who owns that land locked property behind Penn ave west of the road?
      I’m having a coin toss to fund Comrades Trump Jr Kushner and Manafort defense lawyers and any extra goes to supply an ample amount of lube

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