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De Hay v. Town of West New York

Decided: March 29, 1983.

WILLIAM DE HAY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
TOWN OF WEST NEW YORK, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION AND ANTHONY M. DE FINO, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS THEREOF, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County.

Ard, King and McElroy. The opinion of the court was delivered by King, J.A.D.

King

This appeal is taken from a final order awarding retroactive pay to plaintiff because of the municipality's failure to pay him the maximum salary in his range after he had been employed for five years. We affirm.

In November 1981 plaintiff, a sanitary inspector, filed his complaint alleging that defendants had failed to increase his salary to the maximum after he had been employed for five years, as required by N.J.S.A. 26:3-25.1. West New York resisted plaintiff's contention and further asserted laches as a defense.

On December 1, 1972 plaintiff began working as a sanitary inspector in the Health Department at a salary of $7,020 a year. The range for the position was $5,130 to $9,790 a year. In 1977 the maximum was increased by ordinance to $13,500. Plaintiff's earnings were

1977 $10,625

1978 $11,200

1979 $11,900

1980 $12,500

1981 $12,500

In his suit plaintiff sought to receive additional pay to bring his salary to $13,500 for each year beginning with December 1977 to the present. N.J.S.A. 26:3-25.1 provides

Every health officer and every sanitary inspector, plumbing inspector, food and drug inspector, milk inspector, meat inspector and public health laboratory technician holding a license as such issued in the name of the State Department of Health, who is employed as such by any board of health, municipality or group of municipalities shall receive his or her maximum salary in their respective salary ranges, within five years from the date of his or her appointment as such health officer, inspector or public health laboratory technician.

The issue involved in this case was raised in Howard v. Paterson, 6 N.J. 373, 376 (1951). The court in that case chose not to decide the issue in view of its ruling that the new salary ranges were invalid since they were passed by resolution instead of by ordinance. Id. ...


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