Hey, Taxpayers: Wayne, NJ, Mayor Could Get a 647% Raise
WAYNE — Among its first orders of business in 2023, the Wayne Township Council will consider whether to change the mayor’s role into a full-time position — complete with a pay bump that’s 647% higher.
Wayne’s mayoral post has been a part-time role within the town of roughly 54,300 residents, at an annual salary of $18,750.
The ordinance topping the agenda for Wednesday’s reorganization meeting would amend the role of mayor to full-time with a salary of $140,000 as well as benefits and leave time “afforded to other full-time department head employees.”
That would be in line with the 2021 salary for the Wayne Public Works & Engineering Director, which was $144,380 — and below last year's salary for the Wayne Township Health Officer, who earned $170,480.
The highest salary of any town employee last year was that of Wayne Township Police Chief John “Jack” McNiff at $248,158.
At least another 60 or so members of the police department had base salaries in 2021 above what the mayor would be earning, based on public pay records.
The average annual salary among Wayne township workers was $77,724 — 66% higher than the national average.
Mayor Christopher Vergano has successfully been elected four terms in a row since 2008.
In the November 2021 election, Vergano took more than 70% of the vote, beating Democratic challenger Arlene Sullivan 13,295 to 5,576.
He was also dubbed "Wayne Person of the Year," after undergoing treatment for cancer while dealing with the COVID pandemic and other crucial town issues, such as affordable housing requirements.
Vergano has also worked for two dozen years at Hishi Plastics USA, based in neighboring Lincoln Park.
He is up for re-election in 2025.
NJ top-earning mayors
According to NJ.com's analysis, mayors of 11 municipalities were earning six figures for their positions back in 2019.
Since then, it’s at least a dozen, as Edison opted to expand its mayoral post to full-time and include a sizable pay bump.