Former town attorney settles grievance over his dismissal

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Former Bloomfield Director of Law Brian Aloia has settled his grievance with the township. Aloia had filed papers in Newark Superior Court that he had not been replaced legally.
Aloia will receive a month’s back pay of $9,015.

In an email, Aloia said his grievance was that the township had improperly removed him as an employee and violated the pay-to-play laws in the process. He had been dismissed on Jan. 31.

The replacement for Aloia was Michael Parlavecchio, an attorney with Bevan, Mosca and Giuditta, in Basking Ridge, who started his job Feb. 1.

Aloia alleged the township did not obtain documentation from Parlavecchio that he had made a $500 contribution to Mayor Michael Venezia’s re-election campaign.

He also alleged that the township dismissed him without a public hearing, and had hired an outside attorney and not someone who would be a township employee, which the ordinance for the job required. Subsequently to these allegations, Parlavecchio resigned March 1 until the township could create a job request tailored for an outside attorney working with an outside law firm.

“Because of the legal action I filed, the firm they appointed withdrew from the job and the township was forced to post an RFP,” Aloia said. An RFP in this case is a job advertisement.

“It took the township approximately one month to properly appoint a firm to fill the position I held as an employee. Therefore, the township paid me approximately one month pay based upon their improper action.”
Aloia said he paid for the attorney representing him.

He had said that because Parlavecchio was not a township employee, the Law Division had to be reorganized and that the salary ordinance did not address paying the township attorney a retainer.

Township Administrator Matthew Watkins confirmed this. Watkins said, in an email, that the salary ordinance for township attorney did not set a retainer fee.

“Acting on direction of the mayor and council,” he said, “an ordinance will be considered at the council meeting in April to effectuate the policy change which, in effect, will change the township attorney from an employee to a professional contract.”

He said Parlavecchio would not be the director of law and that direction of the law department would be the responsibility of the council and township administrator. The salary ordinance will be considered April 11, he said.