Controversy over wages and benefits at the Middlesex County Improvement Authoritty prompt corrective legislation by the state Senator whose district includes Middlesex and Monmouth.

Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) says that during Monday's quorum at the Statehouse, he'll introduce a measure to cap salaries and rein in perks at local utility and sewerage authorities and county improvement authorities.

The recent MCIA application to New Jersey's local finance board for permission to issue bonds led to the revelation that the agency grants Executive Director Richard Pucci $210,000 in annual salary, health benefits, five weeks' vacation and a $400 monthly car allowance. He is also given $30,000 plus a payment in lieu of health benefits as the Mayor of Monroe Township.

"With a public compensation package exceeding a quarter million dollars, Mr. Pucci is in line for an annual pension exceeding $150,000," the Republican said in a prepared release. "That's more than state employees and department heads earn for working full time. That's flat wrong and disgusting."

Thompson's bill would set a maximum salary of $141,000, the legal ceiling for state cabinet officers. Workers would be prohibited from use of official cars and allowances toward the purchase or lease of cars. Expense accounts would be out, as well as payments in lieu of health insurance if an employee is covered. It would also end annual sick-day payouts.

"This bill is to put a muzzle and leash on piggish public employees who think they can fill their gaping maws with the people's money, because no one knows who they are or what they do," Thompson said. "Newsflash to them: more and more people are starting to realize that you make excessive incomes and are afforded outlandish perks."

He's also introduced a measure to end funding of cars for part-time elected officials through property tax revenues.