Turnpike Authority former boss to get nearly $40,000 severance
Published in the Home News Tribune 1/30/02
by SHARON WATERS STAFF
The former head of the New Jersey
Turnpike Authority will receive a severance package worth nearly $40,000 plus
all the benefits normally provided to retirees.
package for former Executive Director Edward Gross, who left office Jan. 14, is
"consistent with past practice," according to a memo approved yesterday by the
authority's Board of Commissioners. Chairman Frank X. McDermott said he thought
the package for Gross was fair.
Earlier this month, McGreevey blamed
Gross for the high cost of the E-ZPass electronic toll-collection system, now
nearly triple original estimates, and demanded Gross' resignation saying state
officials must be held accountable for irresponsible overspending.
Gross' total departure package equals $39,302.57, said authority
spokeswoman Lynn Fleeger. Gross will receive $23,400, or two months salary, as
severance pay based on one week of salary for each year of service, she said. He
also will receive $15,000 for accumulated sick leave and $902.57 for vacation
accrued this year. The former director has 10 years invested in the authority's
pension plan, Fleeger said.
Gross, who is in his early 60s, will receive
health benefits for life, which is provided to managers who work at the
authority for at least five years, said Fleeger. He will not get toll-free
passage on the highway, she said.
On Jan. 14, less than two weeks after
McGreevey's demand, Gross "relinquished his responsibilities" and said he would
retire on Feb. 1. In the interim, Gross has received his full salary while
serving as an adviser to acting Executive Director Diane Scaccetti, who had been
There is no time frame for choosing a new executive
director, said McDermott.
When asked if the new director might oversee
the Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, McDermott said, "That's not a new
thought. That's been proposed from every governor on." McDermott added, "There
readily could be a merger" of the two highways after financial and legal
questions are resolved.
McGreevey promised during his gubernatorial
campaign to merge the authorities for the Turnpike, Parkway and Atlantic City
Expressway. The authority's commissioners will appoint the new executive
As governor, McGreevey has no direct control over the turnpike
authority, except to appoint its commissioners when positions come open and
approve minutes of its meetings.
over a year ago, Gross had projected installation of the automatic tolls would
cost $65 million. But numbers released by Gross late last month showed the cost
increased to $162 million, and McGreevey has provided a draft report putting
detailing expenses are closer to $180 million and could reach $300
Gross came to the authority in February 1995 as director
of law. He became acting executive director in October 1995 and executive
director in spring 1997. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Sharon Waters: (732) 565-7270; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org from the Home
Tribune Published: January 30, 2002 Copyright 1997-2002 INJersey.