Spotswood council tables salary for administrative assistant position


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SPOTSWOOD–The Borough Council introduced an ordinance, which if adopted, would amend the municipal code to establish salary ranges for various non-union employees.

Despite introducing the ordinance, the council did not approve the administrative assistant and human resource officer’s salary ranges on June 8 via video conference. The second and final reading is scheduled for June 22.

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Business Administrator Dawn McDonald said as part of the ordinance, it would establish the salary range for Administrative Assistant Cate Leedy, as well as an additional salary range due to her becoming the borough’s first human resource officer.

“The salary ordinance only establishes range, it doesn’t authorize any increases to any employee; however, what it will hold up is it will hold up the raises for all the other non-union employees because once the ordinance is adopted, the next step is to do the salary resolution which authorizes those raises,” McDonald said.

For Leedy’s position as the administrative assistant, the salary range would be $34,000 to $60,000 bi-weekly and as the human resource officer, the salary range would be $5,000 to $15,000 quarterly, according to the council agenda.

Since its May 18 meeting, the council has voted to pull the ordinance from the agenda due to monetary reasons.

Before the council voted to introduce the ordinance, Mayor Edward Seely respectfully asked the council to vote on the ordinance in its entirety.

“The point is, Leedy does a lot more than an administrative assistant should. … She has over 25 years of experience in a variety of jobs,” Seely said. “She is not in a union so she is not afforded step increases union members are and her responsibilities are equal to, if not greater than, those in a union.”

Relying heavily on Leedy to maintain and handle the daily operations of his office, Seely said she has had to deal with an increase in responsibilities as the administrative assistant, as well as manage her new position as human resource officer for the past 13 months.

“[Leedy] has earned the respect and trust of her peers. The council has expressed concerns about the proposed pay increase as well as her abilities and qualifications to perform the position,” Seely said. “That is [the council’s] right to do so, but not one council member has reached out to Leedy in reference to this. They have all seen her resume … and reach out with their concerns.

“I respectfully say to the council, do what you must but stop putting it off because it’s not fair to her since you have not done this to any other employee. You know I don’t have any control over finances but I put forth what I think is right. If you don’t think so then we need to make a decision,” he said.

Councilman Ted Ricci said he respectfully disagrees with Seely.

“I heard what the mayor said and while I don’t disagree with his assessment of [Leedy’s] abilities, I know that she is capable of doing everything he said she can do. I think … doubling [her] salary right now given our situation is not an advisable thing,” Ricci said.

Ricci said he does not think it’s up to each individual council member to talk to Leedy and thinks it sets a bad example because what he might say may be different than what another council member might say.

After much discussion, the council agreed to meet together to discuss a plan on how it wants to move forward pertaining to the ordinance by its next meeting.

At this point, Leedy said as acting human resource officer she has been doing an additional job that she has not been compensated for.

“I don’t understand. I truly don’t understand and I am hoping that the council can explain to me exactly why this has taken so long. Exactly why, the work that I have done for the borough so far, the work that I continue to do for the borough at this point, is … not being respected, and in a very large way has kind of been discounted,” Leedy said. “I don’t understand how that happened. I don’t understand how we got to where we all are at this point in the year when this has been going on for almost a year.”

Councilmen Charlie Spicuzzo, Jose Rivera, Larry Kraemer and Ricci expressed to Leedy that their issue has nothing to with her much-respected capabilities.

“My concern with the whole thing is a monetary issue, because of COVID, and everything like that, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to be giving raises out at this time. It’s not to say that there won’t be any raises coming out or you won’t be getting raised,” Spicuzzo said. “I just, at this time, I think this is a large number that we have to sit down and really discuss to make sure that this is what the town can afford. It has no reflection on your abilities or what you do and what you’ve done for us in the past.”

Ricci said Leedy will be compensated for all the work she has done this year and all the extra work she did last year in a proposal he is trying to put together.

“Right now with everything going on the numbers that are in there just don’t work out right now,” Ricci said.

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