Manager’s salary ordinance awaits vote from Howell council

HOWELL – An ordinance that will establish a revised salary range for Howell’s township manager is expected to come before the Township Council on June 11.

The ordinance was introduced May 7 and action was scheduled for the council’s May 21 meeting, but Councilman Thomas Russo was not present that evening and the remaining council members voted 3-1 to table the matter.

Mayor Theresa Berger, Councilman Jon Bonevich and Councilwoman Pamela Richmond voted “yes” on a motion to table the ordinance. Deputy Mayor Evelyn O’Donnell voted “no” on the motion.

Officials have said the proposed ordinance would, if adopted, amend Howell’s salary ordinance to reflect compensation set forth in a contract that was negotiated with Township Manager Brian Geoghegan during 2018.

Geoghegan has been Howell’s township manager since the fall of 2017. His base salary for 2018 was $135,000, according to municipal officials.

Geoghegan’s salary was subsequently negotiated to $160,000 in a contract that was signed on Nov. 20, 2018, according to municipal officials.

Richmond, Russo and Bonevich joined the council in January, after the township manager’s salary increase had been negotiated by members of the previous council. The higher salary requires the adoption of an ordinance.

Geoghegan does not accept medical befits from Howell, which would cost the township $30,000, according to Township Attorney Joseph Clark.

In lieu of accepting the benefits, Geoghegan receives a $10,000 stipend, for a net savings to the township of $20,000, according to Clark.

Bonevich has raised questions about the stipend that is being paid to the township manager in lieu of health benefits.

In other business on May 21, the council adopted ordinances to:

• Vacate paper streets known as Waterside Way, Timber Court and Reservoir Run. Officials said Monmouth County will purchase the property from Howell for preservation as open space.

• Vacate easements in Reservoir Woods. Officials said Monmouth County will purchase the property from Howell for preservation as open space.

• Amend the salary range for the position of assistant township engineer. The minimum salary for the position will remain at $70,000, but the maximum salary will increase from $80,000 to $110,000.

• Authorize the acquisition of the 13.5-acre Berger-Wind property on Preventorium Road from the Monmouth Conservation Foundation for $47,600. Officials said the land would be preserved as open space.

Finally, the council introduced an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of 4 acres of vacant land that is part of 351 Maxim Road, more commonly known as the Van Schoick property, for preservation as open space, in the amount of $10,800. A public hearing on that ordinance is scheduled for June 11.