Camden parking authority chair sues over his removal

Posted: July 20, 2014

The now-former chairman of Camden's parking authority is suing the city following his removal last week after it came to light that he was also a city employee, which is forbidden under state statute.

Angel Alamo, who has been a commissioner since 2005, was an employee in the city's finance department as of July 8, according to a resolution to remove him that passed at that night's City Council meeting. State law does not permit authority commissioners, who are not paid, to also work as an officer or employee of the municipality.

Alamo's term was to expire in January 2019. He was reappointed to a sixth one-year term as chair on Jan. 27, 2014.

At Council's meeting last week, three new members were appointed to the five-member commission.

Councilwoman Dana Burley introduced a resolution to fill the vacancy of Sanders Kendrick Jr., who resigned, and appoint Sheila Davis, president of the Lanning Square West Association.

Councilman Arthur Barclay introduced an amendment to Burley's resolution, appointing Shaneka Boucher to fill the seat of Michael B. Jordan, whose term expired September 2013.

Barclay also motioned to replace Alamo with Jose Martinez Jr., a former vice chairman of the city's housing authority, noting that Alamo was a current city employee.

Alamo was hired as a clerk with the finance department on April 21 and resigned July 9, the day after Council's meeting, city records show.

There was some confusion as to whether procedure had been followed at the meeting. The resumes for the three new members were presented to Council members for the first time that night.

"I find this a little rushed," Councilman Brian Coleman said at the meeting. He voted against the resolution, as did Burley, who said at the meeting she was voting "no" because she was unsure whether Council had followed procedure.

City attorney Jason Asuncion declined to comment, citing the litigation, as did Council members.

On Monday, Alamo filed a complaint in Superior Court against the city, saying that Council "illegally and improperly voted to remove" him from his position. The complaint states that the intent to replace him was not made public in advance and that he was given no notice of it or opportunity to be heard.

State statute says commissioners can be removed only "for inefficiency or neglect of duty or misconduct in office," but the law also says a commissioner cannot be a city employee.

Alamo declined to comment. His lawyer, Lori Dvorak, said that regardless of the reason, Alamo was entitled to notice and response.

"He never even got the chance to tell his side of story," Dvorak said. "Our position is, he thinks he was improperly denied the opportunity to come in and speak on his own behalf."

Dvorak confirmed that Alamo had resigned from his clerk position but declined to provide more details.

Commissioners are appointed by Council to serve unpaid terms of five years.

856-779-3876 @juliaterruso

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