The Montclair Council voted Tuesday to give the township attorney a pay raise, bumping his salary from $86,000 to $125,000.
Township attorney Ira Karasick will see at 45 percent increase in his salary. The ordinance passed with only Councilor Renee Baskerville voting against it.
Citing cost savings in the legal department, Mayor Robert Jackson said the township has brought more work in-house which has decreased the department’s expenses from up to $600,000 in previous years to below $300,000.
“Overall, I think the notion of bringing services inside is a good idea,” said Jackson, “because we save a lot of money.”
The additional legal services Karasick has provided the township outside the scope of his original contract, such as handling tax appeals and redevelopment work, raised his compensation to approximately $106,000 last year and $111,000 in 2011.
By raising Karasick’s salary now and increasing his workload, said Councilor Sean Spiller, the township will actually save taxpayers money.
“By bringing this work in-house, we are reducing our legal fees substantially,” said Spiller. “Bottom line, that’s a savings to the taxpayer. If we pay a little more in-house to save a lot more out of house, than I think it’s a wise financial decision.”
Baskerville, the lone council member against the salary raise, said her decision was not a reflection of the job Karasick is doing, "but a reflection of the economic times."
“We’re in such times where we are grappling with our public safety works for a 1.9 percent increase ... and I could just not find it in myself to feel very comfortable about ... a raise.”