HACKENSACK, NJ -- Board of Education Attorney Richard Salkin is mired in yet another controversy as three candidates in Tuesday’s school board election charge that he has raised his legal fees by over 50% over the past two years. Salkin denies the charges.
Frances Cogelja, Lance Powell and Carlos Velez, running as the “Putting Our Kids First” team, provided school purchase orders and other records that they say prove that Salkin’s compensation increased from $95,000 two years ago to $144,000 in the current school year.
Salkin was previously accused by the candidates of working without a written contract, in violation of state law, and of over-billing the school district by over $13,000 during the previous school year. Last Spring he was the campaign attorney for an unsuccessful city council ticket that was supported by former mayor Jack Zisa and his brother Ken, the former police chief.
Contacted last week by TAPinto Hackensack and asked to provide a copy of his contract, Salkin declined and said, “I don’t give a (expletive) what you print.” He also denied over-billing and said that the candidates are confused about the budget process.
“Richard Salkin’s compensation has increased by over 50% for essentially the same job he was doing two years ago,” said Powell. “Because he has no written contract that describes his scope of services, the public can’t determine whether this huge pay hike is somehow justifiable, or if it is a political reward for his loyal service to the Zisa political machine.”
“Salkin is working without a contract in violation of state law, over-billing and essentially giving himself a 50% pay increase because he has enormous influence over this Board of Education,” said Cogelja, a former local PTA President. “Salkin and Board President Jason Nunnermacker really represent the interests of the Zisa family, not the children or taxpayers of Hackensack.”
Nunnermacker could not be reached for comment. Nunnermacker is running for re-election with incumbent board members Mark Stein and Daniel Carolla. The Board of Education election is next Tuesday and polls are open from 2:00pm to 8:00pm.