No Layoffs, Cuts to Departments in Union County Reorganization, Official Says

Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chairman Bruce Bergen (left) and County Manager Alfred Faella (center) sit at the freeholders meeting on July 20, 2017. Credits: Rebecca Panico

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Board of Chosen Freeholders on Thursday adopted an ordinance that re-organized several departments in the county which will not cause layoffs or cuts, a county spokesman said.

MORE: Read the full ordinance

“As per the reorganization, decisions were made to move different programs/functions into departments where we believed there would be a better fit and/or management coordination,” said Union County spokesman Sebastian D’Elia in an email today.

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The changes include new names for services and move bureaus and divisions to other departments. The reorganization comes after an analysis was conducted to see which services would fit better under certain departments and reflect a “judgment call,” D’Elia said.

For example, the Office of Employment Services will be renamed to One Stop America's Job Center and continue to be handled by the Human Services director, D’Elia said. Additionally, the Bureau of Veterans Affairs will be moved from the Human Services Department to the Department of Economic Development under the Division of Community Services, according to the ordinance.

Community Services will now also encompass the Bureau of Community Development and the Bureau of Housing.

Director of Economic Development Amy Wagner was promoted to Deputy County Manager and will receive a $20,000 raise, which was approved in a separate ordinance on Thursday. She will now make $142,748, the ordinance reads.

Wagner's 16 percent raise is higher than other salaries that were increased at the meeting because Wagner will be taking on both roles of director of Economic Development and Deputy County Manager, D’Elia said.

The county counsel also received an almost 2 percent raise of about $3,300 and the Finance Department director received a $5,000 -- or 3.6 percent -- raise, D’Elia said. Their salaries are now $168,376 and $142,589, respectively. D’Elia said those are “merit” increases.

Additionally, the George W. Herlich Juvenile Detention Center superintendent will now answer to the Department of Corrections director instead of the Human Services director, according to the ordinance.

In other business, the freeholders added vaping to its no-smoking policy in all county buildings, including garages and parking structures. Those who violate the ordinance will be subject to a fine of $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

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