GLEN ROCK, NJ – If last night’s public testimonials for Greg Toro’s character are any indication of how the town feels about him, it’s no wonder residents seemed to be scratching their heads about why a labor attorney announced Toro and the borough are parting ways.
Toro is the director of the Department of Public Works. Councilman Mike O’Hagan, sitting in for Mayor Bruce Packer to chair the meeting, said the council was limited on what they could say about the matter.
“We cannot talk about this,” O’Hagan said at the start of the regular meeting at 8 p.m. on Sept. 9.
Borough labor attorney Jay Garcia said it was a personnel matter and Toro was in support of talking about his work in public, asking him during the public comment section.
“The borough can terminate an employee for any reason, any time,” Garcia said. “We have decided to part ways amicably and resolve any issues in a separation agreement.”
In a packed room loaded with supporters, all who spoke publicly supported Toro, whether it was as an employee or as a resident.
Mina Greenberg, who worked with Toro on the Shade Tree Commission, counted herself as a “character witness.”
“He strikes me as a person who works hard,” she said of Toro.
Sue Tryforus said she feels as though Toro has “always been accessible…he returns phone calls and emails. He’s conscientious about his work.”
Laura Ash called Toro a “big asset,” saying that he was able to get an issue regarding the sewer near her home corrected. “He’s a friend, we went to high school together.”
Eileen Hillock said she did not know of the issues causing the separation of employment, and then praised Toro as “nothing but wonderful for the community.”
Another woman, Carol N., said she doesn’t think the public understands how much the DPW does. “They’re understaffed and underpaid. They take care of the sewers, dead animals, signs, leaf pickup, they’re always right there.”
“Greg is an excellent director,” she said.
There were several others in support of Toro, whether it had to do with trees, sewers, or storm cleanup.
His staff spoke up for him as well.
John DeNardo said Toro has brought nothing but “positive” to the department.
But one man’s comments, an employee, were especially touching.
While his name was discernable at the crowded public meeting, he said Toro had been somewhat of a mentor to him, always stressing safety.
“Greg is always on top of things,” he said. “Sometimes it’s not too easy to work with people, but he talked to me about it. He taught me a lot.”
Rob Dill, a council candidate, said he had worked with Toro and found him to be “nothing but positive. I don’t know what happened or why, but he is an asset to this town.”
Adam Rothenberger, a member of the Bergen County DPW, said he had wanted to work for Glen Rock at one time and Toro had “sold” him on the town. “He was always about safety.”
Julie Allen said since Toro had been employed with the town, there had been “many improvements. I think you should look at the whole.”