Councilman: 'It's Not a Good Situation Right Now'
Codey's dismissal unlikely to be rescinded.
The agenda for Monday night's borough council meeting remains unchanged and the termination of Borough Administrator Ray Codey is unlikely to be rescinded, officials said this weekend.
According to Borough Attorney Joe Mezzacca, an updated agenda will be posted Monday on the borough's website. Mayor Bob Conley said the meeting, which will begin at 8 p.m., will remain in Council Chambers with reconfigured seating that will accommodate 110 people with additional seating set up in the hallway, if necessary.
The agenda still contains two resolutions pertaining to the Feb. 27 surprise move to consolidate the borough administrator and assistant borough administrator positions, Conley said. The first resolution will be to dismiss Codey, who was fired in a 4-2 vote at the Feb. 27 council meeting and the second to appoint Assistant Administrator Jim Burnet in his place.
There is also an ordinance to lower the borough administrator’s salary from what Codey earned at $154,000 to $95,000, Burnet’s current salary. Conley estimated that public comment on the job consolidation and salary could start around 8:30 p.m.
Citing efficiencies, Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto motioned to consolidate the positions during a budget presentation on Feb. 27. The move was supported by fellow Republican councilmen Rob Catalanello, Bob Landrigan and Donald Links.
Vincent Esposito and Carmela Vitale, the lone Democrat on the council, voted against the consolidation. As a result, Codey was immediately removed as the administrator. Conley's attempt to re-appoint Codey was also voted down, 4-2, and Codey's offer to continue working during the 90-day period the borough is required to pay him approximately $38,000 was also rejected.
The Republican council members maintain that by consolidating the two positions the borough will save $100,000 this year and $200,000 in future years and that Codey’s dismissal was not politically motivated even though Codey is the cousin of State. Sen and former Democratic Gov. Dick Codey.
By this consolidation, they said this year’s municipal tax increase would be reduced from 3 to 2 percent, saving the average homeowner with an assessed home value of $400,000 about $73 with each percentage point worth $36.50.
Who seconded the initial Tsukamoto motion to remove Codey has been misunderstood, according to Catalanello's wife, Brenda, who contacted Patch via email. She said it was not her husband and instead Landrigan, a Republican councilman elected in November.
Landrigan said Saturday he was not sure whether he was the one who seconded the motion.
“I’d have to go back and look at the videotape, because I know there were a number of motions,” Landrigan said.
Landrigan said there has been no mention of possibly rescinding the move to dismiss Codey. Landrigan said he's “not even been approached about that. I didn’t even know if that is possible.”
“As far as me reconsidering, I don’t know if that is doable,” Landrigan said. “ I don‘t know what I can talk about,” adding that “all discussions have to be forwarded to the borough attorney."
“It’s not a good situation right now,” he said.
Mezzacca, who was consulted by Tsukamoto several times during the course of the Feb. 27 meeting on how to handle the dismissal motion, said she had asked him to look into how to construct the motion “at least a few days” before the meeting. She implied, he said, that she was asking for the majority of the council.
Mezzacca pointed out that RICE notices had been sent out to “all supervisory employees including Ray Codey in connection with that.”
The borough attorney said it's unlikely the dismissal can be rescinded.
“I think the fact he was terminated…I don’t think they could rescind," Mezzacca said. "I think they could rehire him."
Mezzacca said he has not received any calls from members of the council to alter the agenda items for Monday night.