OSC investigation finds Monmouth County Board of Commissioners disregarded public process to raise Board members’ salaries

Board also avoided public process to raise Sheriff’s salary, which increased $42,210 over the last five years

  • Posted on - 01/13/2022

TRENTONAn investigation by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) finds that the Monmouth County Board of Commissioners disregarded the public process required by law to raise commissioners’ salaries. The Board also did not follow the public process to increase the County Sheriff’s salary.

In order to raise their own salaries, County commissioners[1] must follow a five-step, public process, which includes introducing a resolution with the salary change, providing notice of a public hearing, holding the public hearing, and voting in a public meeting on the resolution approving the increase.

State law also allows members of the public to challenge a salary increase and to require it to be voted on during the general election.

The County did not follow any of the steps of this process when it raised commissioners’ annual salaries from $27,000 to $30,000 in 2020.

OSC’s investigation also found that the County did not pass a resolution or follow the public process to increase the Sheriff’s salary. That salary increased from $136,133 to $178,343 between 2016 and 2021.

By not following the public process, the Monmouth County Board of Commissioners deprived voters an opportunity to participate in the county government in the way required by law.  Circumventing the public process undermines transparency and public confidence in local government.

OSC in a letter sent today recommends that in the future the Board of Commissioners should strictly adhere to the public process set forth by state law when modifying the salaries of commissioners and the Sheriff. In response to OSC’s findings, the County has proposed a resolution raising the Commissioners’ salaries and has now passed a resolution raising the Sheriff’s.

OSC’s investigation was initiated when it received multiple complaints alleging that the Board had not followed statutory requirements for increasing their salaries. To report government fraud, waste, mismanagement or corruption, file a complaint with OSC or call 1-855-OSC-TIPS.


[1] Prior to January 1, 2021, county commissioners were known as “freeholders.” OSC uses only the updated term “commissioner” to refer to members of county boards.

The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) is an independent State agency that works to make government in New Jersey more efficient, transparent and accountable. OSC is tasked with examining all aspects of government expenditures, conducts audits and investigations of government agencies throughout New Jersey, reviews government contracts, and works to detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in Medicaid.

Stay up-to-date with the latest from OSC by following us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and on Instagram at @NewJerseyComptroller.

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