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Manale Resigns Amid Controversy

Township Administrator Yoshi Manale stepped down from from his position Monday, citing differences of vision and policy with township officials.

 

Bloomfield Township Administrator Yoshi Manale has resigned from his position, apparently forced out of office by the township’s lawmakers. 

At a special meeting Monday night, the town council convened to discuss whether they would accept his resignation.  They did, by unanimous vote after the Council gathered for a closed-door session.

Lawmakers declined to disclose the reason for Manale’s resignation. However, in an interview with Patch, Manale said he felt he was dismissed because he wanted more accountability for Bloomfield’s spending.  One target, he said, was the township’s Open Space Trust Fund, though he said he ran into opposition on various fronts from township officials throughout his 17 months on the job.

Mayor Raymond McCarthy commented that Manale was "a young guy with energy, who wants to get things done.  He's got a bright future ahead of him." He also noted, “He will be missed.  He was a smart kid.  He was connected politically and could have helped us.”

McCarthy said a new Township Administrator will be hired; in the interim, he will fulfill Manale's duties himself.

Preceeding the meeting, Manale had written a letter to the Mayor and Council dated July 2.  “It has come to my attention that the Township Council has asked for my resignation," he wrote. "With that understanding, I tender my resignation effective immediately.”

Manale listed as his conditions a request to be paid an additional three months salary “waiving any and all claims I may have against the Township arising from or related to my employment.” His request was granted by a four-vote majority, with McCarthy and council members O'Boyle-Dunigan, Bernard Hamilton and Elias Chalet voting yes.  Manale also asked to retain his iPad, but that request was denied.

Manale spoke with Patch about the reasons for the resignation, and about why he fell out of favor with the council.

PATCH:  Are you surprised by the council’s decision?

MANALE:  This has been happening off and on since I got here.  It was just a matter of putting a coalition together [to make it happen.] It’s their prerogative to replace me.

At the end of the day, the [council members] run the town. Everyone likes to blame the mayor but it’s really not about him.  It’s never been about the mayor.  It’s all about those four votes -- who controls the four or five vote majority.

PATCH:  Why do you feel this happened?

MANALE: I’m not being replaced for job performance, that’s for sure. I think it’s because I stood up for what’s right one too many times.  I haven’t pushed people’s agendas. 

PATCH:  Such as?

MANALE:  I’ve been going after the Open Space Trust Fund.  That’s why Joanow wanted to get rid of me.  Ask him, what’s better, to have taxpayers continue to pay into a $2.2 million Open Space Trust Fund or to lower property taxes?  One penny of every taxpayer dollar goes into the Open Space Trust Fund.  Taxes could be lowered by $400,000 if Joanow had allowed it.

PATCH: What other issues were you at odds with the council about?

MANALE:  The idea of stopping the town redevelopment to do another fiscal impact study.  It's ridiculous.  I can’t even believe Joanow would suggest that.  What does he get out of that?  He has his own personal agenda.  Good luck to Bloomfield for having a councilman who doesn’t have its best interests at heart.

I’ll be honest, I was frustrated. The whole time I was there I watched them fight over the smallest, dumbest things. Why argue over who’s appointed to the Parking Authority when Bloomfield is in the situation it’s in?  

PATCH: What would you say are the key issues the town is facing?

MANALE: I was trying to create rateables so we can lower property taxes without losing income.  I really felt this [position as Township Administrator] was an opportunity to make some improvements, do what the township needed. The township’s in need of real leadership.

PATCH:  Looking ahead, what do you see?

MANALE:  I’ve already talked to the township about each of the departments and my projects and how far along they are.  I had a vision for the township.  I’m not sure [township officials] shared my vision.  Otherwise I’d still be there.

I learned a lot in Bloomfield.  Every town is jealous of Bloomfield for its location and its proximity to New York.  For having the potential to develop [into a great town.]  Why is it that ten years later nothing’s happening?

This [resignation] has been a couple of weeks in discussion.  I’m young and I have plenty of opportunities and I’ll move on. 

 

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Pat Gilleran July 05, 2012 at 08:23 PM
2009 New Jersey Code TITLE 40 - MUNICIPALITIES AND COUNTIES Section 40:69A 40:69A-164 - Franks, free passes, tickets or services; acceptance forbidden More Sharing ServicesShare | Share on googlebuzzShare on facebook_like40:69A-164. Franks, free passes, tickets or services; acceptance forbidden No officer or employee shall accept or receive, directly or indirectly, from any person operating within the territorial limits of a municipality, any interurban railway, street railway, gas works, waterworks, electric light or power plant, heating plant, telegraph line, telephone exchange or other business using or operating under a public franchise, any frank, free pass, free ticket or free service, or accept or receive, directly or indirectly, from any person, any other service upon terms more favorable than is granted to the public generally, except that such prohibition of free transportation shall not apply to policemen or firemen in uniform. Nor shall any free service to the municipal officials heretofore provided by any franchise or ordinance be affected by this section. L.1950, c. 210, p. 509, s. 17-15, eff. June 8, 1950.
Pat Gilleran July 05, 2012 at 08:24 PM
2009 New Jersey Code TITLE 40 - MUNICIPALITIES AND COUNTIES Section 40:69A 40:69A-165 - Promise of office, position, employment or benefits forbidden More Sharing ServicesShare | Share on googlebuzzShare on facebook_like40:69A-165. Promise of office, position, employment or benefits forbidden No candidate for office, appointment or employment, and no officer, appointee, or employee in any municipality shall directly or indirectly give or promise any person any office, position, employment, benefit or anything of value for the purpose of influencing or obtaining the political support, aid or vote of any person, under the penalty of being disqualified to hold the office or employment to which he may be or may have been elected or appointed. L.1950, c. 210, p. 509, s. 17-16, eff. June 8, 1950.
Pat Gilleran July 05, 2012 at 08:25 PM
2009 New Jersey Code TITLE 40 - MUNICIPALITIES AND COUNTIES Section 40:69A 40:69A-167 - Failure to appear or testify before court, legislative committee or Governor More Sharing ServicesShare | Share on googlebuzzShare on facebook_like40:69A-167. Failure to appear or testify before court, legislative committee or Governor If any person hereafter elected or appointed to any office or position in a municipality governed under this act shall, after lawful notice or process, willfully refuse or fail to appear before any court, any legislative committee, or the Governor, or having appeared shall refuse to testify or to answer any question regarding the property, government or affairs of the municipality, or regarding his nomination, election appointment or official conduct on the ground that his answer would tend to incriminate him, or shall refuse to waive immunity from prosecution on account of any such matter in relation to which he may be asked to testify, may be removed from office by the governing body of the municipality in its discretion. Any person removed from office pursuant to this section shall not thereafter be eligible for election or appointment to any office or employment in such municipality. L.1950, c. 210, p. 510, s. 17-18, eff. June 8, 1950.
Pat Gilleran July 05, 2012 at 08:26 PM
ps- Bloomfield has no Ethics ordinance
Pat Gilleran July 08, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Manale's "severence" of 6 months is not a done deal and will be voted on at the July 16th Town Council meeting.Come to the town council meeting and let the 4 who so far voted to give hism a parting gift know what you think of their gesture

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