NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a settlement agreement and general release between the borough and Sergeant Frank Gaffney at Monday night's meeting.
An official statement released on Tuesday said the borough and its insurance company agreed to the settlement in exchange for Gaffney dropping all claims against the borough and the tendering of his immediate resignation from the police department.
The monetary funds Gaffney received as part of the settlement were not disclosed, but Borough Administrator Doug Marvin said most of the funds were covered by the borough’s insurance carrier.
According to a November 2010 published article in The Alternative Press, Gaffney filed a lawsuit against the borough claiming employment discrimination after being passed over twice for promotion and harassed over his union involvement.
The July opening of the shared emergency services dispatch center jointly operated by New Providence and Summit may be in jeopardy. Councilman Robert Munoz said that the borough had rejected all construction bids and sought authorization to re-bid.
Borough Administrator Doug Marvin said that re-bidding would push the timeline back by a couple of weeks. The anticipated construction expense is $700,000 to be shared by New Providence and Summit. He added the delay would not jeopardize a $1.6 million federal grant for state-of-the art communications technology.
Council President Michael Gennaro was surprised to learn that all 13 bids received were rejected and asked for more information.
In an unprecedented move, the council halted proceedings to hold an executive session with the public excluded. Upon resuming the meeting, no explanation was offered as to why the bids were rejected.
In other news, the council passed two resolutions approving expenses for engineering survey and design services for the Village Shopping Center parking lot and a proposed parking lot adjacent to the Municipal Center.
Councilman Jim Madden said the municipal lot expansion could add 25 to 30 parking spaces to help address the lack of adequate downtown parking.
“Those are two great steps in the right direction to boost economic development in the downtown,” Councilman Gary Kapner added.
During the meeting, Mayor Hern and members of the Borough Council sadly noted the passing last week of Mary Parlapiano, who was a 40-year member of the Rescue Squad serving in various positions including president, vice-president and treasurer. Parlapiano also established the New Providence Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary;
“Her entire family has served this borough. She’ll be sorely missed,” Gennaro said.
Madden added, “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community.”
Former Mayor Al Morgan said Parlapiano constantly pushed him for construction of a new Rescue Squad Center – an idea that became reality.
“If there was ever a poster girl for volunteerism," Morgan said, "her picture would be on it.”