The Bayonne City Council has received the results of the investigation into the separation agreement between former Assistant Business Administrator Mark Bonamo and the city. But those findings will remain confidential and not be released to the public.
Bonamo was hired in October of 2019 and resigned in January of this year. According to the separation agreement obtained by the Bayonne Community News, he was paid for unused sick, vacation, and personal time he would have accrued in 2021, receiving compensation from the city until early April.
According to City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, the agreement violates an ordinance adopted by the council in 2016 prohibiting accrual of sick time starting in 2017, as well as the employee handbook and past practices of the city.
No, then yes
Ashe-Nadrowski first asked for an investigation into the separation agreement at the caucus council meeting on Aug. 11, introducing a resolution calling on Mayor James Davis to authorize and conduct the investigation. But it failed to get a second after she motioned for a vote on it.
However, at its Aug. 18 meeting, the council approved the resolution 3-2. Ashe-Nadrowski was joined by Second Ward Councilman Sal Gullace and Third Ward Councilman Gary La Pelusa. First Ward Councilman Neil Carroll and City Councilman At-Large Juan Perez voted against it.
In a turn of events, prior to the vote, it was revealed that an investigation into the separation agreement was already taking place. The council held an executive session at the July 14 council meeting, where it learned that Allan Roth, an attorney from outside law firm Ruderman and Roth, is conducting the investigation. But at the Aug. 18 meeting, Ashe-Nadrowski said details are scarce, which that led her to propose the resolution at the caucus meeting, which would require the findings of the investigation be reported to the council.
The confidential report
While some thought the resolution would authorize a second investigation, only one took place: the preexisting investigation by Roth. The council went into a closed session at the end of its Sept. 22 meeting to hear the findings.
The council was instructed by Roth not to comment on the matter. Third Ward City Councilman Gary La Pelusa and City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski confirmed this.
Ashe-Nadrowski said the report will not be made available to the public, adding that it was “just an internal investigation.”
“We were told it’s a confidential report with attorney-client privilege and will not be made public,” she said.
According to Law Director Jay Coffey, the city has no comment because it’s a personnel matter.
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