The law firm led by a controversial former New Jersey governor has been hired to represent taxpayers in negotiations between the Board of Education and the local teachers’ union.
The board, at its Jan. 10 meeting, awarded a contract to Florio Perrucci, Steinhardt and Fader to handle negotiations for the district. James Florio, a founding partner of the firm, was the Democratic governor of New Jersey for one term from 1990 to 1994.
The firm was awarded a contract for legal services at $145 per hour, not to exceed 100 hours, or $14,500 total.
In 2015, a previous board approved a contract with the Brick Township Education Association, the union representing Brick teachers and some support staff, that expires June 30, 2018. That contract expanded the teachers’ overall salaries by 3.41 percent in the first year, then 3.3 percent and 3.19 percent in the second and third years. The salary increases, however, were nearly completely funded through concessions in health benefits costs for the first year and slightly more in the two following years, officials said at the time.
Brick’s starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $51,565, plus a health benefits package. From there, raises are divided into 20 additional steps, maxing out at $90,010 for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and $94,985 for a teacher with a doctoral degree.
After what was widely considered a successful, 16-year run representing New Jersey’s first congressional district, Florio’s term as governor proved tumultuous, especially after the Quality Education Act stripped nearly all funding from 151 suburban school districts and led to what became known as a “taxpayers’ revolt” led by Howell Township postal worker John Budzash. He was defeated by Republican Christine Todd Whitman in 1993.