Monroe Fills Post Of Business Chief The Council Unanimously Appointed The Man Chosen By The Mayor. Some Had Felt Left Out Of The Selection.

Posted: November 24, 1999

MONROE — In a surprise turnaround, the Township Council last night approved Mayor Mary Duffy's pick for business administrator.

Council President John "Winnie" Sharp and members Richard Coe, Tony Ayres and Robert Schober - who previously voted against the appointment of acting Business Administrator Pete Brusco - chipped in their votes to make the endorsement unanimous.

Council members Kathy Simon, Len Dramesi and David Cornell, who regularly align themselves with the mayor, had been expected to vote for the appointment.

Brusco addressed the council to applause from the audience: "I'd like to thank the council for having the confidence to appoint me. I'm anxious to get on with the work before me."

The motion to reconsider the appointment came from Coe, who qualified the opposition. "The mayor's process in selecting a business administrator was flawed from the beginning," Coe said.

By law, the mayor can appoint all township directors, with the council having the opportunity to approve or disapprove the appointments. The extent of the council's role has been a major issue in Monroe.

Coe said council members deserved a say in the selection of a business administrator, especially since whoever holds the job oversees the township's day-to-day operations.

The four council members had requested resumes of applicants. At a Nov. 9 meeting, Duffy said the resumes were confidential and could not be shared with the council.

Duffy has said the four council members have a vendetta against her and wanted to leave her without a business administrator to draw up the budget and renegotiate two major union contracts that expire at the end of December.

"The mayor has complained in the media that we have tried to block her by taking away the tools she needs to run the township," Coe said. "Mayor, after this . . . I believe you will not have an excuse to not do the job you were elected to do."

Duffy picked Brusco at the beginning of August from about 15 candidates she interviewed in the summer. The council voted 5-2 against the appointment Aug. 10, after having the opportunity to review Brusco's resume and ask him questions.

Under the state Faulkner Act, Brusco was granted a 120-day probation, which would have ended Dec. 7.

At the Nov. 9 meeting, Simon brought up Brusco's appointment again. That motion was tabled, 4-3.

The business administrator position was vacant for three months after Nick Pileggi left in May.

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