Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Dover To Terminate Business Administrator

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DOVER — Three months after resuming office, Dover Mayor James Dodd remains committed to implementing substantial changes in a town plagued by fiscal mismanagement under the previous administration. In his latest move, Dodd took action on Thursday, April 4th, to temporarily suspend and ultimately dismiss the Town Administrator BettyLou DeCroce.

Ms. DeCroce was hired by the Town of Dover on December 29, 2022, during the Blackman Administration.

The Mayor and Council introduced Resolution 112-2024, “Resolution of the Mayor and Town Council of the Town of Dover placing the Town Administrator on Leave and appointing the Municipal Clerk as Interim Town Administrator.” (Click here to read resolution).

The resolution passed by a vote of 7-0, with council members Karol Ruiz and Sandra Wittner abstaining. File Photo

The resolution passed by a vote of 7-0, with council members Karol Ruiz and Sandra Wittner abstaining. The final vote on termination will require a two-thirds majority of the eight-member council, town labor attorney Jonathan Cohen said.

According to Ms. DeCroce’s contract with the Town of Dover, Section 3, “DeCroce shall be given at least thirty days written notice of any meeting to be held concerning her performance in the position as relates to continued employment with the Town and will be allowed to be heard.”

A full house at the Dover Council chambers as residents voice their concerns.

“Despite being provided notice to terminate Administrator DeCroce, we have not been provided any written statement explaining the cause of termination. We call upon the Mayor to give Administrator DeCroce a basis for the termination, sufficiently before the next meeting, so the Council can decide whether the action is legitimate or retaliation for not taking the requested adverse action against Police Chief Delaney. We would also hope to be provided with more than 3 minutes to rebut the pretext for termination,” said Oleg Nekritin, Esq., the attorney representing Ms. DeCroce.

Oleg Nekritin, Esq., the attorney representing Ms. DeCroce.

Ms. DeCroce will be paid her full salary during the thirty days, and Ms. Tara Pettoni, Township Clker, was appointed as Interim Town Administrator. She will receive a stipend of $5,000 a month for performing the duties of Interim Town Administrator.

“We’re here tonight to discuss the process and move it forward,” Dodd said. “We are doing everything by the book. After the 30-day notice, we will discuss why we are giving her notice.”

When I look at what has happened to this town in the past couple of years from a fiscal responsibility standpoint, it will blow your socks off how badly this town has been managed financially,” said Mayor Dodd. “And things need to change.”

Dodd said when he took office he gave DeCroce “an opportunity to prove herself.”

“We had multiple conversations,” said Mayor Dodd. “Her comment to me was simple: ‘Mayor, if this doesn’t work out, just let me know because I don’t want this to be public humiliation.’ All of this is going to be discussed when we come back in 30 days. And I promise you, when we sit down and talk about why we’re here today, you’ll understand.”

Daniella Mendez said “Somewhere in the last 90 days, we have lost the real issues facing our town. We should be focusing on the future, Fiscal Responsibility, and Quality of Life to name a few. We have chosen a path of division. Instead, we have chosen to battle each other at every term. Mayor and Council, I ask you to lead by example and I ask you to address the real issues as a team remembering there is no I in team. Thank you.”

The possibility of discussing her employment status is high at the first council meeting succeeding her 30-day notice, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 15.

Dover Focus reached out to Councilmember Karol Ruiz, who was very vocal during the meeting, but she chose not to comment. Ruiz abstained from voting for the Resolution, along with Councilmember Sandra Wittner.

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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