Board of Health Defends Pay Hikes
Officials say salaries went up because duties increased.
Ocean County Board of Health members are defending pay hikes to two key administrators, saying both have taken on added duties that justify the increases.
Michele Rosen of Waretown, the Democratic candidate for Ocean County freeholder, cited an unsigned letter she received to question pay hikes granted Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye and Victoria Miragliotta, Director of Administration and Program Development at the Health Department.
The unknown author claimed Regenye’s salary of $85,000 in August of 2007, when he was assistant public health coordinator, went to $151,000 this year, an increase of $69,000.
Miragliotta’s salary of $82,000 in August of 2006 went to $141,000 this year, up $59,000.
At the same time Rosen said the writer claimed the salary of Dr. Ella Boyd, who had been the public health coordinator, but now is the assistant public health coordinator, went from $124,000 in April of 2007 to $149,000 this year.
Miragliotta confirmed the salary increases, but said they resulted from a September 2010 reorganization of the Health Department that increased her responsibilities and those of Regenye.
She said she was hired in 2006 as the personnel director of the Health Department. The reorganization gave her a new civil service title, required her to take a test for the job, and added general administration, finance, risk management, facilities and stragetic planning, and custodian of records responsibilities while she remained in charge of personnel operations.
At the time of the reorganization her salary went from $113,099 to $139,025 and increased last month with a 1.9 increment given all employees.
“It’s like when Carl Block went from being County Clerk to County Administrator. He got a lot more responsibility and more money,’’ she said.
Regenye was making $113,088 plus longevity when he was promoted the Public Health Coordinator at $149,000 a year in the Sept. 1 reorganization.
Boyd became his assistant, earning $139,025 plus longevity at the time of the reorganization. Her duties include overseeing the county’s animal control facilities, women, infants and children program, efforts to control communicable disease, alcohol and drug programs and coordination of the dental program.
The reorganization was billed as a plan to eliminate three full time jobs and save $133,000 through “consolidation and reorganization,’’ according to resolution approving it.
“My point is in this economy, the board should not have granted these big raises,’’ Rosen said.
“There was a big change in what people took on, explained Jack Mallon, chairman of the Board of Health. He said Regenye “moved up,’’ Miragliotta took on “more duties,’’ and Boyd kept those she had.
Board member William J. Ritchings of Whiting said Miragliotta took on “four or five,’’ additional jobs after she was hired. “She’s got a very heavy load.’’
Board member Robert Singer of Lakewood said the board administrators oversee a staff of 200 full time employees. Miragliotta said 86 others work part time for the department.
Rosen also questioned what she said was between $500,000 and $750,000 spent to renovate a building owned by the Beth Medrash Govoha rabbinical college in Lakewood to house a number of Health Department services.
Board member Henry Mancini of Manahawkin, a real estate appraiser, said it was common industry practice for tenants, not landlords, to renovate commercial spaces they are renting.
“The number (cost of the renovation) does not surprise me,’’ he added.
Ritchings asked why the money was not spent without bids. Singer said Ocean County officials needed the space the Health Department formerly used in its Northern Resource Center triggering a search for a larger facility with more parking and access to public transportation.
Realtor Anthony Graziano was hired to find a space, and came up with the one on Madison Avenue now leased by the county from the Beth Medrash Govoha. There was already a health clinic and offices of the Lakewood school board there so the Board of Health moved ahead with a lease and renovated the building. Federal grants were used to cover most of the expenses, and the continuation of those grants is a condition of the lease.
The result is a 14,000 square foot facility for Health Department services instead of 3,500 square feet in the county building, Singer explained.
A full array of services, from the women children and infants program to a 14-chair dental clinic are provided there, he added.