New Jersey's top non-profit CEOs are paid millions

Person offering money
Money in hand.

The highest-paid non-profit hospital chief executives in New Jersey earn well over $1 million a year, with most earning more than $2 million.

That's the results of an annual survey by Despite the ongoing legal battles over non-profit hospital compensation in the Garden State and whether facilities that highly compensate their executives should pay taxes, it doesn't appear to impact compensation trends.

Among the highest paid execs

  • Joseph Trunfio of the Atlantic Health System retired last year but earned $4.7 million in 2014 in salary and bonuses.
  • John K. Lloyd, CEO of Meridian Health came in second with compensation of $3.5 million.
  • Robert Garrett, CEO of Hackensack University Medical Center earned $3.3 million.

But compensation expert J.B. Silver told that the Internal Revenue Service has the high salaries on its radar. 

"What holds it down is the IRS. In order to maintain not-for-profit status, you cannot pay excessive compensation," he told the publication. "They can literally lift the not-for-profit status. It has happened."

Atlantic Health System was the center of a property tax dispute involving one of its hospitals, Morristown Medical Center. A state judge threw out its exemption last year, citing Trufino's $12 million in compensation over a three-year period. Morristown had sued over the exemption, claiming it was being unjustly deprived of tax revenue while Atlantic paid its executives salaries that rivaled the for-profit sector. The system settled the lawsuit for $25 million, including $10 million in upfront tax payments.

The decision in the Morristown case has since led to other municipalities appealing or suing not-for-profit hospitals within their boundaries over their exemptions. Among them are the cities and townships of Belleville, Freehold, Long Branch, New Brunswick, Rahway, Raritan Township and Summit. Not-for-profit hospitals in Maine are also coming under similar pressure from state lawmakers.