A former Bayonne assistant business administrator worked his last day in January, but was paid until April and city officials are mum as to why due to lawsuit from his ex-boss where he is named as a defendant.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Business Administrator Melissa Mathews wrote in an email to the mayor’s office on March 12th that she would not be signing any other payrolls that included Mark Bonamo, at the time the assistant business administrator, since she had reason to believe he hadn’t been in City Hall since January 15th.
“I am singing [sic] this under duress and will not sign payroll for him next pay period unless provided with the legal basis to do so.”
Donna Russo, assistant counsel for the city, responded by stating that she was unable to address “sensitive and confidential personnel information and city business” since two individuals from outside the city were carbon copied on her email.
On the following Monday, March 15th, Mathews responded that they are her personal attorneys and included them because she was concerned she may be being put at legal risk.
“As he has not been in City Hall and is not working, yet is getting paid, I have questions about the legality of what is taking place. I have been told by payroll and personnel that in the event of an employee leaving that employee must prorate their days for the year based on their departure date,” she said.
Russo had previously told Mathews in a January 25th email that Bonamo had resigned. On that same day, Council President Sharon Nadrowski, who was also included on the email from Russo, asked Davis when Bonamo’s last day would be.
“His effective date of resignation is 4/5/21. He is off payroll on 4/6/21,” an email from the mayor’s office replied.
The next day, January 26th, Russo questioned why Mathews was still pressing the issue regarding Bonamo’s employment with the city.
“As I advised you yesterday, Bonamo is history. He offered his resignation. The Mayor accepted it. We have a done deal. Is there a reason why you are researching his time charges and checking sign-in sheets?,” she asked.
January 15th was the last day Bonamo reported to City Hall, sign-in sheets from the City of Bayonne show.
Bonamo was hired by the city in October 2019 and was “responsible for oversight of essential municipal functions,” according to his LinkedIn page.
However, Russo previously told Mathews that Bonamo could not account for more than a half hour of work a day and expressed frustration about projects, including the distribution of CARES Act funding for small businesses, being incomplete for weeks at a time.
Mathews filed a gender discrimination suit against the city in April, also alleging that abuse of public office allegations were ignored.
The suit names officials including Bonamo and Russo, claiming that the former “undermined, ignored, [and] usurped” her authority.
Law Director Jay Coffey, who is also a defendant in the suit, declined to comment on the situation, citing the pending litigation from Mathews.
On Thursday, HCV obtained a voluntary separation agreement that showed Bonamo was allowed to collect unused sick, vacation, and personal days “without good cause attributable to work.”
“In executing this agreement, you warrant and represent that you are leaving work and tending [sic] your resignation voluntarily and without good cause attributed to the work,” the 10-page agreement, signed on January 24th, says.
“You are not resigning your position in the face of probably discharge with the intent to preserve your record. You are not resigning in lieu of termination. Rather, you are voluntarily resigning to attend to and focus solely on personal matters, including a health issues that requires your immediate and dedicated attention.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information.