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In Monmouth County Corrections Officers top earners
Published: 03/24/2011

FREEHOLD — Amid repeated calls to reduce the cost of Monmouth County government, more than one in 10 county employees still made more than $100,000 last year. And two of them, both corrections officers, topped $200,000 for the first time.

The number of full-time county workers with six-figure incomes rose to 363, from 336 in 2009, according to payroll records. That figure was 319 in 2008 and 279 in 2007.

The highest wage earners — corrections officers Dana J. Townsend, who received $233,650, and Gerard C. Feist, who received $207,057 — earned more than Gov. Chris Christie's annual salary of $175,000 and nearly twice as much as their boss, Sheriff Shaun Golden.

Because of a lump sum payout, corrections officer Michael Brown collected the most money, $296,679, last year. Brown had been suspended without pay from his $85,000-a-year job in 2004 for failing a random drug test.

An appeals court reversed the results when a superior officer at the jail and a substance abuse program administrator offered sketchy testimony on testing procedures. Brown won $210,000 in back pay, plus $65,000 in attorney's fees, and went back to work last summer, county officials said. He collected only about $5,800 in overtime.

The county paid a total of $195.3 million in base salaries last year, up about $300,000 from 2009. Yet overtime pumped up paychecks by $13.9 million, an increase of about $2.3 million from the previous year. Overtime does not count toward an employee's pension.

William K. Heine, the county spokesman, said nonunion workers did not receive raises in 2009, and none with a base salary above $100,000 got a raise last year. He said he did not know whether the freeholders would give out raises this year.

The Monmouth County Jail once again had the largest share of overtime, $6.8 million, for corrections officers. That figure increased from $5.4 million in 2009 and $3.9 million in 2008.

Sheriff Shaun Golden said the jail had been starting to control overtime, but then the Board of Freeholders decided in 2009 to lay off 38 corrections officers. Overtime spiked after that because of the need to fill state-mandated jail posts with 24-hour coverage.

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  2. prznboss on 03/24/2011:

    Isn't that ignorant, laying off officers and then having to pay out a fortune in over-time. It just doesn't get any dumber than that.

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