The Bayonne City Council approved a resolution to probe a voluntary separation agreement of their former assistant business administrator, a measure spearheaded by Council President Sharon Nadrowski.
Nadrowski, a potential challenger to Mayor Jimmy Davis in next year’s municipal elections, had attempted to add the resolution to the agenda at last week’s caucus meeting, but she was unable to get a second, as HCV first reported.
She vowed to continue introducing the measure about former Assistant Business Administrator Mark Bonamo’s departure until it received a vote and she made good on her word at Wednesday’s meeting, where it was approved 3-2.
2nd Ward Councilman Sal Gullace and 3rd Ward Councilman Gary La Pelusa joined Nadrowski in voting yes. Prior to the vote, Nadrowski revealed that Allan Roth, labor counsel for the city, had begun investigating the matter last month but no details had been released.
“I sent multiple emails the day after our executive session and this evening about the investigation and received no answer,” she said, noting that is why she prepared the resolution for last week’s caucus meeting.
Roth is also rendering an opinion on whether Nadrowski and Business Administrator Melissa Mathews have conflicts of interest in operating a non-profit food pantry for the city.
During public comment, several residents called on the council to “do the right thing,” including Gail Godesky, a retired city employee who has said Bonamo should’ve been fired, and Peter Franco – a frequent political adversary of Davis and his allies.
“This will go down in history as the most terrible thing that you, as a council, would have done if you do not vote in favor of this resolution … The salary this person received was taxpayer dollars when he did not earn that money,” Godesky said.
Bonamo worked his last day at City Hall on January 15th of this year, but was paid until April 5th.
His voluntary separation agreement says he did nothing wrong to precipitate his resignation, though the resolution okayed Wednesday contends that agreement was improper since the city did away with sick time accrual for any employee who has not banked 100 days.
Other residents, like George Ramirez and Mike Morris, said the resolution would accomplish little, especially since outside counsel is already investigating the matter, a sentiment echoed by 1st Ward Councilman Neil Carroll III and Councilman-at-Large Juan Perez before casting their no votes.
“The way this issue was brought up and introduced at last week’s meeting was a political stunt. The very nature of this is a political move that doesn’t need to occur and is redundant,” Carroll exclaimed, with Perez later calling it “pure politics.”
Nadrowski said that the purpose of the caucus meeting is to determine and set the agenda, with her, Gullace, and La Pelusa all noting that there should never be an issue in asking for full transparency.