Politicians double-dip to earn 6-digit paychecks. Social Security paychecks? Fuggedaboutit.

Politicians double-dip to earn 6-digit paychecks
Social Security paychecks? Fuggedaboutit.

November 23, 2006 Jersey Journal

A large number of Hudson County pols are bankrolling a career in public life into cozy, taxpayer funded retirement plans thanks to spreading themselves out in a number of different jobs, according to The Jersey Journal's review of state pension records.

The Journal review shows that 13 elected officials in Hudson County earn six-figure salaries - and a host of others below that threshold - through a combination of different public jobs, including two pols who rank third and fifth in the state when it comes to prolific pension takers.

Embattled Jersey City School Superintendent and state Assemblyman Charles T. Epps Jr. tops the Hudson County list - and ranks third in the state - with a combined salary of $268,993. That does not include his $1,000 a month in a housing allowance as superintendent. Epps did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Nicholas Sacco, a frequent target of government reformers for his bevy of vocations, finished second in the county and fifth in the state with a combined salary of $247,558 related to his jobs as state senator, North Bergen mayor and assistant superintendent in the North Bergen School District.

"I strongly disagree with any suggestion that my 39-year career in public service constitutes any pension abuse," Sacco said in a written statement. "If three different people held the same positions that I hold, the cost to the taxpayer for salaries and pension would be the same and health benefit costs would actually be higher. To suggest anything else is a deliberate attempt to mislead people."

The other "six-figure" pols who get two taxpayer paychecks include:

Sal Vega, who makes a combined $153,894 as a Hudson County freeholder, West New York commissioner and West New York school athletic director. (Vega, who became West New York mayor last week, is expected also to be named assemblyman, replacing newly-elected Rep. Albio Sires in both posts. Vega is expected to step down as freeholder but not from his other jobs.)

Vincent Prieto, who makes a combined $151,390 as Secaucus construction code/plumbing and state assemblyman.

Mariano Vega, who makes a combined $147,450 as a Jersey City councilman and Hudson County director of parks.

James Doran, who makes a combined $144,136 as a Harrison councilman and Hudson County Vocational School principal/supervisor.

Bill Gaughan, who makes a combined $139,965 as chief of staff to Hudson County Executive Tom Degise and Jersey City councilman.

Richard Turner, who makes a combined $133,618 as mayor of Weehawken, West New York business administrator and a member of the state's Local Finance Board. (On Nov. 10, Turner resigned as business administrator and will now serve as U.S. Rep Albio Sires' regional director.)

Joseph V. Doria Jr., who makes a combined $121,000 as Bayonne mayor and state senator.

Albert Cifelli, who makes a combined $118,321 as Harrison tax assessor, Harrison public defender and a Hudson County freeholder.

Hugh Cabrera, who makes a combined $113,750 as North Bergen Board of Education secretary and North Bergen commissioner.

Viola Richardson, who makes a combined $108,746 as a Jersey City councilwoman and Hudson County program monitor.

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