After returning from the closed session during last night’s municipal budget workshop, council voted 5-1 to remove $10,000 from the Chief Administrative Officer’s (CAO) position, thereby effectively removing the position. First Ward Councilman Andrew Casais being the only dissenting vote.
The discussion started during the open session of the budget workshop when Third Ward Councilwoman Tanya Torres requested that the $10,000 be removed. The original amount for the position was $20,000 but it was pro-rated for half the year.
Regarding the position, Councilman-At-Large Carl Hokanson added, “I said it at the last meeting. I’ll say it at this meeting. I’ll say it at the [July] 19th meeting. My position is ‘no’.”
Councilman Andrew Casais stated that he felt that the borough needed an administrator. He comment, “I just don’t think that council is here to do the day-to-day operations. We have department heads for a reason. We’re not the department heads and somebody has to be able coordinate the departments.”
Councilwoman Torres explained her position of removing the funds from the budget, “I’m against the position so… why put the money in and increase our taxes for a position that I’m not in favor [of]?”
No names were mentioned for the position at the budget workshop but at a previous Mayor & Council meeting in 2011, Doreen Cali was put forth in Resolution 133-11 to officially become the borough CAO. Ms. Cali temporarily was assigned the position for six months in 2006 and, according to her, had been performing the CAO duties without title nor pay increase for five years. That resolution was voted down by a vote of 4-2.
The vote at the July 12th budget workshop to remove the funds from the budget lowered the tax increase for a house assessed at $65,000 from $99.45 to around $97.24.