After serving more than a year as a part-time police director, Jerry Speziale has been appointed as full-time director by mayor Jose “Joey” Torres pending confirmation from the city council.
Speziale, the former Passaic County Sheriff, has been serving as a de facto full-time police director since his appointment on July 1st, 2014. Council members have had called for Speziale’s full-time appointment even approving an ordinance change that allows the mayor to appoint either a part-time or a full-time police director.
Torres’ administrator decoupled the public safety director post to separate out police and fire directors. Those two posts are part-time and salaries are $45,000 each. The city created a new full-time director post with a $92,000 salary for Speziale.
“We did agree to increase the salary so that it would be commensurate with a full-time position by simply combining the two part-time salaries,” said Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, on Tuesday evening.
“What happens to the oversight of the fire department? Is there no fire director?” asked William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman.
Julio Tavarez, 5th Ward councilman, said the council approved a full-time police director as well as a part-time fire director.
“Now we’re increasing the budget by $45,000,” remarked McKoy.
Business administrator Nellie Pou said the city is not going to increase the budget by that sum, for Torres has been serving as the fire director at no cost. She said the mayor has the authorization to make a fire director appointment, but he will not exercise it.
Speziale’s re-appointment as full-time director is largely ceremonial, the director has been collecting a full-time, 40-hour, pay check. Torres appointed him as a part-time director which the council confirmed; however, the administration — after the fire director post became vacant — decided to take that $45,000 fire director salary and add it to the police director’s post.
Council members will vote to approve Torres’ re-appointment of Speziale during their next regular meeting.