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The List: New Jersey’s 16 ‘Double-Dipping’ County Sheriffs

All told, the sheriffs on this list pull down about $3.3 million a year in public pay — $2.1 million in county salaries plus $1.2 million from state pensions

Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino
Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino

Sheriffs in three-fourths of New Jersey’s 21 counties are “double-dippers,” a NJ Spotlight analysis found. They are elected officials who collect six-figure salaries in addition to pensions as retired law enforcement officers.

Here is our list of the state’s 16 double-dipping sheriffs, in order of their annual public incomes:

1. Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino (D)

$267,987 – $138,000 salary + $129,987 pension as an Emerson Borough police retiree

2. Passaic County Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik (D)

$253,957 – $151,887 salary + $102,070 pension as a Clifton police retiree

3. Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy (R)

$234,309 – $110,244 salary + $124,065 pension as a Toms River Township police retiree

4. Mercer County Sheriff John Kemler (D)

$233,330 – $148,199 salary + $84,831 pension as a Mercer County sheriff’s office retiree

5. Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano (R)

$211,227 – $135,206 salary + $76,021 pension as a Bridgewater Township police retiree

6. Warren County Sheriff David P. Gallant (R)

$210,636 – $128,149 salary + $82,487 pension as a State Police retiree

7. Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura (D)

$210,187 – $147,794 salary + $62,393 pension as a retired Essex County undersheriff

8. Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred S. Scott (D)

$204,095 – $142,754 salary + $61,341 pension as a retiree of the Middlesex County sheriff’s office

9. Morris County Sheriff Edward V. Rochford (R)

$200,838 – $139,203 salary + $61,545 pension as a Morris Township police retiree

10. Hunterdon County Sheriff Frederick W. Brown (R)

$197,796 – $115,868 salary + $81,928 pension as a retiree of Raritan Township police

11. Gloucester County Sheriff Carmel M. Morina (D)

$197,189 – $133,740 salary + $63,449 pension as a Greenwich Township police retiree

12. Salem County Sheriff Charles M. Miller (R)

$195,452– $119,386 salary + $76,066 pension as a retiree of the Salem County prosecutor’s office

13. Camden County Sheriff Gilbert Wilson (D)

$195,136 – $144,753 salary + $50,383 pension as a Camden City police retiree

14. Sussex County Sheriff Michael Strada (R)

$172,033 – $125,060 salary + $46,973 pension as Mount Olive Township police retiree

15. Cumberland County Sheriff Robert Austino (D)

$166,938 – $107,250 salary + $59,688 pension as a Vineland police retiree

16. Cape May County Sheriff Gary Schaffer (R)

$161,654 – $107,500 salary + $54,154 pension as an Ocean City police retiree

Double-dipping is a bipartisan practice among New Jersey sheriffs. Eight Republicans and eight Democrats collect both county paychecks and state pension pay. (See related story.)

Combined, the 16 sheriffs receive roughly $3.3 million a year in public pay — $2.1 million in county salaries plus $1.2 million from state pensions. On average, each sheriff collects $207,000 a year — $131,000 in salaries and $76,000 from retirement pay.

Sheriffs frequently hire retired law enforcement officers for key positions in their departments. NJ Spotlight found 33 retirees working as undersheriffs in 18 counties. They draw a total of $6 million a year from public coffers — $3.3 million in salaries and $2.7 million from pensions.

Overall, the 49 double-dipping sheriffs and undersheriffs receive $9.3 million a year — $5.4 million in salaries plus $3.9 million from pensions.

Source: County payrolls obtained through Open Public Records Act requests and the state Treasury’s online pension database.

Mark Lagerkvist is a veteran investigative reporter who has worked for CNBC, News 12, Asbury Park Press, New Jersey Watchdog and other news outlets. His work has won more than 60 journalism awards, including honors from National Press Club, Scripps Howard Foundation, and Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE). He can be reached at Mark@Lagerkvist.net.

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