ORANGE – Battling criticism, Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., today backed down from receiving a $25,000 mayor’s salary on top of his existing salary as fire director, according to spokeswoman Linda Cofer Hawkins.
That thins Hawkins’s public salary to $79,700 for his jobs as fire director ($76,000) and emergency management coordinator ($3,700).
In a statement, the newly sworn-in mayor acknowledged the negative response caused by his initial designs on a $104,700 annual salary.
"Most people that have discussed the issue with me strongly support my decision to work full time for Orange," said Hawkins, who took an unpaid leave from the West Orange Police Department to focus full-time on his job as mayor.
"While supporting that decision, some have also suggested that, with property taxes unbearably high, I should not receive the salary of mayor while being paid as fire director," he added. "I have listened carefully to the constructive criticism of those who don’t want me to accept both salaries, and have decided to follow their advice. I will not receive the mayor’s salary while being paid as fire director."