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New Mayor bars town employees from speaking to Township Council without appointment

Requires all employees to notify their supervisor if a council member contacts them

By David Wildstein, October 04 2018 12:48 am

This one is unreal, even by New Jersey standards: Adam Salberg, who became interim mayor of Rockaway Township on Monday, ordered all to township employees to stop talking to elected members of the Township Council without an appointment.

The Salberg memo could have statewide implications; he won’t be the only mayor who would want to bar council members from talking directly to municipal employees.

“I’m directing all staff/employees that no Council member shall be granted access to any staff space behind the inner lobby counters without previously scheduling an appointment. Staff shall not interact with any Council member unless the Council member has specifically scheduled an appointment with that  staff member,” Salberg wrote in a memorandum to all township employees.  “Individual  staff members  who are not department heads or supervisors should notify their department heads or supervisors of any appointments requested by Council members.”

Salberg was the choice of the local Republican Party to serve as interim mayor, and Judge Stuart Minkowitz ordered him seated on Monday after the council picked Paul Minenna, one of three names submitted to them by the GOP, to hold the post.  Minkowitz ruled that the council didn’t provide enough public notice for the special meeting and that the deadline to pick a replacement for Michael Dachisen, who unexpectedly died in August at age 58, had then passed.

Some members of the council are appealing the decision.  The Appellate Court has agreed to hear the case on an emergent basis and briefs are due at the end of next week.

Republicans have picked Councilman Michael Puzio to run in a November special election to fill the remaining fourteen months of Dachisen’s term.  Puzio was an ally of the late mayor and is at odds with the current council majority.  Since Puzio endorsed Mikie Sherrill for Congress against Republican Jay Webber, local Democrats chose to let him run unopposed.

Salberg’s term would come to an end — or Minenna, if the Appellate Court reinstates him — as soon as the general election results are certified.

Salberg Memo 100318
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8 thoughts on “New Mayor bars town employees from speaking to Township Council without appointment

  1. Maybe this is because the town council has abused the workers at town hall. Jeremy and Patty have made life miserable for these workers. Adam is protecting them. Get all the facts and then report!

    1. 40:69A-37.1. Mayoral control of administration
      In any municipality adopting the mayor-council plan of government, the municipal council shall deal with employees of the department of administration and other administrative departments solely through the mayor or his designee. All contact with the employees, and all actions and communications concerning the administration of the government and the provision of municipal services shall be through the mayor or his designee, except as otherwise provided by law.

      Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the council’s inquiry into any act or problem of the administration of the municipality. Any council member may, at any time, require a report on any aspect of the government of the municipality by making a written request to the mayor. The council may, by a majority vote of the whole number of its members, require the mayor or his designee to appear before the council sitting as a committee of the whole, and to bring before the council those records and reports, and officials and employees of the municipality as the council may determine necessary to ensure clarification of the matter under study. The council may further, by a majority of the whole number of its members, designate any number of its members as an ad hoc committee to consult with the mayor or his designee to study any matter and to report to the council thereon. It is the intent of the mayor-council plan of government to confer on the council general legislative powers, and such investigative powers as are germane to the exercise of its legislative powers, but to retain for the mayor full control over the municipal administration and over the administration of municipal services.

      L. 1985, c. 374, s. 8, eff. Nov. 26, 1985.

  2. I have friends who work in town hall who have personally said they felt uncomfortable when these council members hover over their desks without stating what they are looking for. The interim mayor is simply making the work environment safer by protecting the employees from intimidation. This makes sense, considering one of the now members of the council had previously been convicted of an assault on the mayor. Only certain members of the council seem to be doing this. If they are looking for information, they can easily make a request to the mayor, who IS the overall manager of these employees. Plain and simple, it’s to prevent harassment of these workers.

  3. Several members of the town Council have been abusing the privilege of having access behind the counters, and have been known to be disrupting and harassing town employees. It is quite likely that this is the reason for interim Mayor Salberg’s memo.

  4. From: Paul Minenna
    Date: September 19, 2018 at 11:04:38 AM PDT
    To: “JInglesino@iwt-law.com” , Council Members
    Cc: Patricia Seger
    Subject: Chain of Command
    To All:
    As Mayor I am requesting your assistance in following the chain of command in communicating and requesting information from any member of our Rockaway Staff. Please direct all requests and communication thru Administration ( Mayor and Business Administrator) first and we will assign to appropriate staff. I am sure that you understand that our employees work hard and are busy. We are trying to prevent unnecessary interruptions and help them set priorities.

    Our staff wants to be accommodating to all and we are asking you to assist us in this matter. Feel free to contact me with any questions,

    Best Regards,
    Paul Minenna
    Interim Mayor

  5. Jeremy Jedynaks’s pick of Interom Mayor (which was removed by a judge) Paul Minena sent almost the exact same message to the Council, why wasn’t that mention? Did you actually investigate, or simply publish the propaganda you were sent? True journalism will report full aspects of a story, not one sided articles meant to further a political agenda, one that is destroying our town. So, for fair news and transparency (Jedynaks motto which he fully has failed at), Dachisen, Minena, and Salberg all sent the same request. Perhaps you should edit and correct your article.

  6. What Mayor Salberg did is the correct thing to do. The re- establishment of order is necessary for the employees to do their jobs correctly & in a timely manner without having to have the feeling of being threatened. It also re-establishes the rule of order in how information is gathered. In my work career requests went through my supervisors; when this wasn’t done it caused utter chaos for me & those around me.

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