PERTH AMBOY – Former Councilwoman Lisa Nanton had a problem with Communication No. 13 where Law Director Louis N. Rainone told the Council that they were in violation of the Faulkner Act by continuing to use the services of Attorney Robert Tarver.
Tarver was the attorney hired by the Council to conduct an investigation into the appointment of former Business Administrator Peter Pelissier.
Rainone said that when Tarver submitted his report to the Council on September 2016, Tarver’s services should have been concluded.
During the public portion of the Council Meeting, Nanton said, “This is a conflict of interest and ludicrous and the Council needs to ignore this (Communication No. 13). You hired this lawyer legally.”
There was a late starter that was added: R-25-1/17 – Authorizing the Law Offices of Robert L. Tarver, Jr. to take appropriate action to recoup any and all funds improperly disbursed or paid relative to the hiring and retention of Peter Pelissier as Assistant Business Administrator.
There was a motion to table this item made by Councilman Jelmin Caba.
Resolution R-24-1/17 Authorizing extension of all 2016 contracts for the provision of professional services not to exceed 60 days.
Councilman Fernando Gonzalez is the one who wanted this resolution singled out separately for further discussion stating, “This calls for a full time Law Director and wouldn’t an interim required to be full time?”
DeCotiis Attorney Judy Verrone who was sitting in told the Council, “The Mayor will determine my hours.”
Gonzalez questioned this and said, “We will have to go to court about this because we passed an ordinance requiring we get a full time Law Director.”
B.A. Adam Cruz responded, “We are not recognizing that ordinance.”
Verrone continued, “It’s the Mayor’s power to veto the ordinance (calling for a full time Law Director) under the Faulkner Act).”
Gonzalez shot back, “We need our own lawyer. I’m concerned that the Mayor violated an ordinance. We should not recognize a part time Law Director.”
Councilman Fernando Irizarry remarked, “We need representatives to protect us.”
Councilman Joel Pabon was frustrated, “We keep playing the same game over and over. We’re not even looking for a full time Law Director.”
During the last public portion, Resident Kenneth Balut had a question for Councilman Caba, “You should have known about Pelissier during your campaign. Quinones-Perez said she was working on the Mayor’s campaign – which was yours. Quinones’ picture was on your campaign literature. You should tell the citizens where your campaign money (the PAC) was coming from. Did you get money from Fairfield Insurance? Is the Mayor trying to take over the Board of Education?”
Business Owner Virginia Lugo came up to speak, “You’re (the Council) supposed to look over what the administration is doing. Your former Law Director blatantly lied. She wrote a contract for a storage company. We need to have an attorney that the Council can trust.”
A Resident from Elm Street came up to speak. She was very emotional as she told the Council to do their research when it comes to picking an attorney. “People are losing their homes because they are being taken advantage of by attorneys. People are afraid to speak out. They don’t know where to go. They’re are also realtors involved that are taking advantage of residents.”
Councilman Fernando Gonzalez who is also a realtor said, “The City offers seminars to help people who are looking to acquire homes.”
The Resident answered back, “They have seminars for home buyers – not sellers.”
Gonzalez also advised the Resident, “Anybody that has not been serviced properly can contact the New Jersey Real Estate Commission to complain.”
After the close of the public portion, B.A. Adam Cruz showed his annoyance about one particular individual. He said, “That one individual always puts up unfounded facts about crime. We’ve had a dip in crime for the last three years. Burglaries are down 35 percent this year. Look this up at the State website. It’s 18 percent down at the County level.”
Councilman Joel Pabon said, “It’s been our own fault that we incorrectly input that information.”
Cruz continued, “It was a clearance average that was looked at this year.”