BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Superior Court Judge Mark Ciarrocca ruled Thursday in favor of the Township of Berkeley Heights and Mayor Joe Bruno in their case against former Police Chief Mike Mathis, who will not be reinstated to his position.
In his decision, Ciarrocca stated that Mathis failed to demonstrate "by clear and convincing evidence" that Bruno lacked the authority to unilaterally accept Mathis' resignation as set forth in the protocols of the Berkeley Heights Township Municipal Code.
The court therefore denied Mathis' application for temporary injunctive relief, which would have reinstated him to his former position as Chief of Police of Berkeley Heights Township Police Department and an employee of the township.
"This is good news, but also sad news," Bruno told TAP into Berkeley Heights. "It's unfortunate because it took a nasty turn that didn't have to go this far."
Bruno continued, "I'm glad we prevailed. It showed that we took the accurate actions."
He added that it was "unfortunate" that Mathis' attorney claimed it was a personal grudge that led to this dispute. "This action was taken by him, not by me," said Bruno. "I am not a person that holds a grudge. I am amicable to settle the remaining matters out of court."
Bruno also told TAP into Berkeley Heights that an acting chief will be named in the near future. Lt. John DiPasquale will remain the "officer in charge" of the Berkeley Heights Police Department.
Update: Reinstatement could still happen with further court action. Mathis wishes to remain chief of police and will pursue further litigation, as stated on social media.
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TAP into Berkeley Heights will update as information becomes available.