Clerk candidate goes after French salary

Monmouth County Democratic Clerk candidate Amod Choudhary says he will take only the state-required salary for the clerk’s office in an effort to save the taxpayers more than $66,595 during his first term, according to a press release issued by the Monmouth County Democrats.

Choudhary is running against Clerk Claire French, whose pay raises from the Republican Board of Chosen Freeholders over the past five years "are far above the required salary for that position," the candidate says.

The clerk’s salary, as a constitutional office, is set by state statute as 65% of the state Superior Court Judge’s salary. French has received more than that required amount since 2003 as her salary climbed from $91,650 to $110,169 – or $47,585 more than what’s required, according to Choudhary.

The Superior Court Judge makes $149,000.

"To reduce spending and end corruption, Monmouth County officials have to lead by example," said Choudhary. "I will not accept one dime above the required salary because the people of Monmouth County have been taxed enough. It is disturbing to me that in a time where corruption and high taxes have become a fixture in the Republican administration, that the Clerk would accept more money to which the office is entitled."

Monmouth County Republican Chairman Adam Puharic fought back Wednesday, even deigning to issue a press release with Choudhary’s name misspelled.

"If Chaundry was to take a salary commensurate with his competency to serve as county clerk then the taxpayers of Monmouth County would save even more money then he proposes," Puharic said. "The people of Monmouth County should avoid the mistake and wasted tax dollars of putting in office someone who is completely unqualified and nothing but a political hack. They should instead reelect our award-winning and nationally recognized County Clerk Claire French."

Clerk candidate goes after French salary