Forenza wins labor lawsuit getting $15,000 salary increase, $20,000 check, and $42,000 legal fees | Paterson Times

Forenza wins labor lawsuit getting $15,000 salary increase, $20,000 check, and $42,000 legal fees


Russell Forenza, city’s budget director, reached a settlement with the city over an overtime payment dispute, which resulted in the budget director filing a lawsuit against the city in January 2013.

Settlement approved by the city council during Tuesday’s special meeting gives Forenza a salary bump of $15,000 upping his annual salary to $111,000. The budget director is also set to receive a retroactive payment of $20,308.

In his lawsuit handled by Susan Champion, the city’s former law department director, Forenza sought $25,752 in overtime compensation for hours he worked in excess of 40. The budget director worked 375 in overtime for which he was not paid, according to the lawsuit.

The city is also compelled to pay Forenza’s legal fees of up to $42,307, according to the settlement resolution passed by the council.

Only one member of the council, Julio Tavarez, 5th Ward councilman voted against the settlement resolution. Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman; Anthony Davis, 1st Ward councilman; Rigo Rodriguez, councilman at-large, were absent when the vote took place.

Forenza, who was hired in June 13, 1999, according to the suit, sued following the overtime scandal that rocked the city during the aftermath of Hurricane Irene – the budget director cites he sued for the overtime compensation he had yet received going back to September, 19, 2011. Champion cites in the complaint “city’s policy manual provided that non-exempt employees should be paid overtime.”

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