A war of words has erupted between Gov. Chris Christie and the mayor of a New Jersey town who also heads the Middlesex County Improvement Authority.
The governor called him “disgraceful” for making too much money in bonuses, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported Friday.
Richard Pucci has been the executive director of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority for nearly 20 years. A state comptroller audit has found he’s been making a nice living in the government agency - a $185,000 salary in 2010, in addition to a $55,000 bonus and other perks to total close to $250,000.
While he’s not accused of doing anything illegal, the comptroller’s office said Pucci and three other officials didn’t list their bonuses as part of their salaries so the public could see how much they really make.
“It was a compounded type of earning that occurred over the years and it was not a bonus. What it was, it was earned and we didn’t want to put into the pension plan,” Pucci said.
While Pucci defended himself by saying his agency is one of the largest in the state - overseeing dozens of facilities - Gov. Christie blasted him.
“Listen that stuff that’s going on at the MUA in Middlesex County is disgraceful,” Christie said.
“The governor doesn’t know me. He only knows what he may hear,” Pucci responded.
In Monroe Township, where Pucci makes another $18,000 as a part-time mayor and police department director, residents had a mixed reaction.
“I am sort of outraged considering I just paid my property taxes and they’ve gone up significantly. I want his job if he’s going get paid that kind of money,” resident Bernadette Bogdon said.
“I think it’s a more than full-time job 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Ruth Sachs added.
Pucci said he works hard to make sure facilities are run right and that he is proud the audit found nothing wrong with the authority’s finances.
The audit found the three other officials made bonuses totaling more than $50,000 while employees didn’t get any bonuses.
Source: CBS NY