By Josh Resnek
The city council rejected an effort by Councilor Fred Capone to strip the mayor of a questionable and expensive $40,000 a year longevity payment he has been receiving.
The longevity payment or bonus is supposed to be $2,500 a year, according to Capone and several other councilors who believe the mayor is receiving payments he has not earned and which he is not eligible for.
“It is inappropriate. It is not proper. It is not necessary. This longevity provision has caused confusion. It has been manipulated. It has been hidden and concealed. It seems to me an attempt to defraud the people,” Capone said during the sometimes contentious meeting.
Capone claims the mayor owes the city $190,000 and that he should be made to pay it back.
The mayor is paid $191,475 annually plus the $40,000 longevity and a $6,000 car allowance.
City Solicitor Colleen Mejia was handed the longevity ordinance to read by Councilor Jimmy Tri Le.
Mejia read it aloud.
It was a stunning bit of theater and was followed by an Academy Award winning performance by the city solicitor.
“Is he (the mayor) breaking any laws?” Le asked Mejia.
“No. He’s entitled to it,” she replied. End of discussion.
Le sat down.
Councilor Mike Marchese repeated what is written in the ordinance.
“It says $10,000 a term or $2,500 a year. I can’t believe what I’m hearing. It is outrageous. A bunch of bull. Do what you want. Say what you want. It’s wrong. I’d repeal this tonight,” he admonished his colleagues.
Councilor Anthony DiPierro, the mayor’s cousin and enabler on the council, goaded Capone.
“The election is over. The campaign is at an end. Stop making this about Carlo DeMaria. We do ourselves a disservice,” DiPierro said.
He called Capone’s actions a political game. He called them sour grapes.
Capone reacted with visible anger.
“I’ve never made this political. This is not sour grapes. The councilor who calls it sour grapes (DiPierro) made sure it didn’t go anywhere.”
DiPierro met with the mayor before the meeting. He read from a script.
The motion to strip the mayor of the longevity failed 6-4.
A letter has been sent to the mayor asking him to tell the council what it should do at the next meeting.