The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ)
Matthew Conlon hired as new City Clerk for Trenton
TRENTON » The capital city has a new clerk.
Matthew Conlon, who served as acting clerk in Longport, was unanimously approved by the capital city legislative body at Thursday’s virtual meeting to serve as the next clerk.
He’s replacing Eric Berry, who was tapped earlier this year as interim clerk succeeding Dwayne Harris.
Harris left for an administrator post in Berlin Borough but was rehired by the capital city — after some council members suggested he was run off — as a consultant to train Berry, a former Tony Mack appointee hired in May who struggled in his new role.
Some council members opposed hiring Berry in the interim post, pointing to his lack of qualifications. Berry conceded he didn’t have experience working as a clerk but supervised some in smaller municipalities in other government posts.
Not much is known about Conlon as the city had not provided a resume, with a list of his professional and educational experience.
Conlon, an attorney, has certificates as a registered municipal clerk and certified municipal registrar, according to an email sent by council president Kathy McBride.
He’s reportedly agreed to relocate to the capital city, foregoing reimbursements for moving expenses.
Conlon was previously appointed acting municipal clerk of Longport in October 2017, according to news reports.
“I love the way government works at its core,” Conlon told The Press of Atlantic City at the time of his appointment.
The story noted he would remain as acting municipal clerk until he received his registered municipal clerk certification.
The Longport Board of Commissioners decided against reappointing Conlon as acting clerk in December 2018 as part of an apparent employment dispute.
The commissioners decided to pay Conlon a $22,000 lump sum to resolve a potential legal dispute, according to news reports.
Trenton council president Kathy McBride, who was absent from Thursday’s meeting, has already written to city officials expressing concerns about Conlon’s yearly salary.
According to internal records obtained by The Trentonian, the Department of Community Affairs rejected Conlon’s proposed $125,000 salary.
McBride was incredulous over the decision, saying the clerk’s office was involved in “virtually every aspect of the municipal operation on a daily basis.”
DCA reportedly wanted to approve a salary that was in line with what former clerk Harris made before leaving for a higher-paying gig. The council voted last year to give Harris a raise, in the range of $88,000 to $131,844.
“I do not know how the City can be expected to attract qualified, competent individuals for such positions if we are not permitted to offer realistic compensation,” McBride wrote to city officials. “We appear to be arguing about a $20,000 or $25,000. difference, which in the context of Trenton’s approximately $232,000,000. budget is insignificant and extremely shortsighted.”
McBride hoped to resolve the issue by reducing Conlon’s salary to $122,000 a year.
DCA could not be reached after hours for comment about whether the dispute was resolved.