Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 8
 
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
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Borough Council Weighs Salary Increases; Arts Council Looks Forward to Opening

Matthew Hersh

Princeton Borough Council last week agreed to introduce a measure that would, if passed, allow for a three-year, incremental salary increase for some of the Borough’s top officials.

The measure, introduced in a 5-0 vote, is slated for a March 4 public hearing before final passage. The ordinance impacts salary grade levels and compensation for full-time and non-contractual personnel.

“This is an extensive revamping,” said Borough administrator Robert Bruschi. Modifications included eliminating old salary grades, and reshuffling staffers with like salaries in other pay grades. “We found in some classes that there were one or two employees that were dragging that salary way higher than anyone else would normally be paid for that position, and that’s just because of the way things have been going on for the past dozen years or so in the Borough,” Mr. Bruschi said.

The readjustment is planned within the municipal budget, Mr. Bruschi said, and recommends an average 3.25 percent salary increase over a three-year period, beginning in 2008 and ending in 2010. There would be no action taken again for another three years, if the measure is approved.

Mr. Bruschi used his own salary, currently $136,371, and its anticipated 2010 rate, $150,500, as an example of the rate of increase. Mr. Bruschi, who did not receive a pay raise last year, has been employed by the municipality since 1999. “We try to revamp this every three years to give us a workable plan,” he said.

Councilman Roger Martindell said that he did not disagree “with the principles” of the increase, but he warned that increases in salaries might not be wise in times of financial uncertainty. Mr. Martindell offered a similar concern last month when Council weighed salary hikes while working with a new contract with the police union.

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In other news, Arts Council of Princeton Executive Director Jeff Nathanson, in his annual report to Borough Council, appeared optimistic that the organization’s Paul Robeson Center for the Arts on Witherspoon Street could be open in time for Communiversity in the spring.

“We’re crossing our fingers, and we’ll keep you posted,” he said.

Mr. Nathanson also announced that the Arts Council had received a legacy grant from the J. Seward Johnson Senior Charitable trust for $250,000. The grant would serve as the lead gift for the establishment of an endowment fund to support the Arts Council’s programming.

This particular grant, Mr. Nathanson added, would serve to fund programming specifically for what is historically known as the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. “We’re quite pleased about that,” Mr. Nathanson said.

The Arts Council has been operating out of its conTEMPORARY Arts Center at the Princeton Shopping Center since 2005.

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