file photo by Boyd Loving
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
The Ridgewood Blog just received this information –
Ridgewood NJ, In a departure of past practice, Village Council members have hired Mark Ruderman, Esq. and the firm of Ruderman and Glickman to negotiate a contract between the Village of Ridgewood and members of Ridgewood Policeman’s Benevolent Assocation (PBA) Local 20. Village Council members authorized the hiring of Mr. Ruderman and his firm under a no-bid contract, expiring on June 30, 2016, for an amount not to exceed $75,000; this was done via Resolution 15-182, passed on June 24, 2015.
For as many years as those who have been around for many years can remember, the PBA contract was always negotiated by the Village Manager, with labor attorney review only after the contract terms were accepted by both parties. The staff of The Ridgewood Blog wondered why the sudden change, and why Mr. Ruderman. Then we ran across this article:
So in a nutshell, Mr. Ruderman was successful in forcing the Tenafly PBA into arbitration, which resulted in a 3-year no raise contract, and a scaled back pay system that forces their members to work longer before reaching maximum pay. What the news article didn’t say was that Mr. Ruderman charged Tenafly $225,000 for his legal/negotiation services. Although the Ridgewood contract has a cap of $75,000, the cap expires on June 30, 2016. If terms are not reached by then, an opportunity may exist for Mr. Ruderman to either achieve or exceed his Tenafly payout.
The hiring of Mr. Ruderman begs the staff of The Ridgewood Blog to ask what role, if any, Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld and Director of Human Resources Sharyn Matthews are playing in the PBA negotiations, particularly since each of their roles include labor negotiations as a responsibility.
Bottom line – Why are taxpayers shelling out $92,000 a year in salary plus benefits for an HR Director who can’t negotiate? And then another $75,000 for someone who can? Good grief Charlie Brown!