The Economic Development Authority's CEO Tim Sullivan saw his salary raised retroactively to $295,000 per year.

On Heels of Law Raising Politician Pay, EDA Boss Gets a 31% Salary Boost

March 24, 2024

TRENTON, NJ—The NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board voted to raise the salary of Tim Sullivan on February 7, nearly five years after he took the helm of the powerful agency.

The board’s unanimous vote to boost Sullivan’s salary by more than 30% came after they cited a controversial new law that raises the salaries of various government officials, and is expected to cost taxpayers at least $12.8 million over the next two and a half years, according to the state.

“The CEO’s annual salary has remained the same… since 2012,” said Terence “Terry” O’Toole, the NJEDA Board Chairman. “Despite inflation, significant increases in the cost of living, and the fact that the EDA’s net assets have grown from approximately $670 million in 2012 to $1.7 billion at the end of 2023, the CEO’s salary has not increased in twelve years.”

One reason for the pay raise was a controversial bill signed by Governor Phil Murphy that raises the pay for his successor, who has yet to be elected, and every member of the legislature elected in 2025.

“On January 16, the Governor signed into law a bill increasing the salaries of certain state officials, including cabinet members that head individual departments,” noted O’Toole as he revealed the extent

Sullivan still makes more than Murphy, the man who recommended him for the job. Sullivan’s initial $225,000 salary was boosted to $295,000, and the raise was made retroactive to January 1.

Thanks to the pay bump, Sullivan also makes more than all state judges, including the Chief Justice of New Jersey’s Supreme Court.

Legislators, who are considered “part-time” elected officials and typically work other jobs on the side, will see their annual pay jump by 67%—from $42,000 to $82,000—if they can manage to win re-election in 2025.

The bill, A5910, passed the State Senate by a vote of 26-7, and cleared the General Assembly 46-25. Trenton’s representatives—Senator Shirley Turner and Assemblypersons Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Anthony Verrelli—each supported the bill as it secured its final approvals in January.

As a result, the next Governor and Lt. Governor will be paid a $210,000 annual salary, 20% higher than the $175,000 Murphy and Lt. Governor Tahesha Way are paid.

Murphy’s cabinet, however, already got the same 20% raise, from $175,000 to $210,000, under the bill.

The bill also allows for two more years of automatic annual pay raises for all state judges, tied to inflation and capped at 2% each year. The automatic raises were set to end next year.

While the state government will be spending millions to pay for the raises in the years to come, local governments will also be on the hook in some cases, “due to statutory linkages between the salaries of
certain local government officials and certain judges,” according to the Office of Legislative Serv.ices (OLS), the statehouse office charged with preparing fiscal estimates for bills

OLS said it could not anticipate how other salaries might increase as a results of the pay bumps for politicians, judges, and cabinet officials.

Sullivan’s salary could be one of the first in a “cascading… ripple effect” of government pay increases triggered by the legislation. OLS predicted this effect, and said it could not estimate the degree of impact, though it noted it “could add several millions to the cost of the bill.”

“The Executive and Legislative Branch salary increases are likely to result in cascading salary increases for other personnel. While such ripple effects depend on discretionary salary decisions that the OLS cannot anticipate with a reasonable degree of certainty, any secondary salary increases could add several millions to the cost of the bill,” concludes the OLS estimate.

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