Councilman James Solomon

A new report prepared by the office of Ward E Councilmember James Solomon raises concerns that faulty drafting may result in excessive lump sum payments being made for accrued government employee sick and vacation leave.

The payments, informally referred to as “boat payments,” must follow state laws. However, Solomon says his study finds that each government reviewed –  Hudson County, Hudson County Schools of Technology, Jersey City, Jersey City Public Schools and the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority – had at least one contract out of compliance with those laws.

Nevertheless, Solomon’s study, which focuses primarily on contract language, did not, apparently, uncover recent excessive boat payments from the city or county.

Moreover, said the study, “While the City of Jersey City and Hudson County generally demonstrated compliance with the law, each government still utilized at least one contract that contained vague language that could be used to evade the law.”

Solomon has complained before about boat payments. In January, he proposed four-point plan to “combat tax increases and wasteful spending” including limits on the payments.

Solomon criticized a large boat payment that went to retired Hudson County Schools of Technology administrator Frank Gargiulo in 2018. “A million-dollar payout is nuts” he said.

Solomon pointed to a Star-Ledger investigation that found that that $76.7 million in boat payments had been made statewide since 2020.

Other findings of Solomon’s study include:

  • Of 42 documents reviewed, 47.62% were not clearly compliant with state law. 
  • Within three government entities, (Hudson County School of Technology, Jersey City Public Schools, and the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority), the majority of their contracts were found to be non-compliant, with 70.83% of reviewed documents failing to adhere to relevant laws.  
  • Contracts by the City of Jersey City and Hudson County were generally in compliance, but each had at least one contract that was either missing language or contained vague wording that is not compliant with state law. 

Solomon’s report can be found by accessing this link.

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....