ELIZABETH, NJ - In the interest of what is best for the people of Berkeley Heights, the lawyers representing Police Chief Michael Mathis and Mayor Joe Bruno have agreed to continue discussions to resolve the issues behind the lawsuit filed by Mathis on July 3.
Superior Court Judge Mark Ciarrocca adjourned the case on Thursday between Mathis and Bruno until July 30 and advised that the prior order of July 3 will remain in effect.
This court hearing was the result of a lawsuit filed by Mathis over his "imminent, unlawful removal from office by Mayor Joe Bruno."
In a previous article by TAP into Berkeley Heights, a summary was provided of Mathis' email train and subsequent discussions with the mayor leading to the mayor's acceptance of his "resignation" and issuance of the executive order appointing Captain Thomas Schafer as "officer in charge" and later appointing Lt. John DiPasquale in lieu of Schafer.
In the court documents filed on behalf of Mathis and Bruno, allegations were made that Bruno's actions were the result of remarks made by Mathis about the arrest of Bruno's son.
The township filed their Brief in Opposition to the Superior Court of New Jersey on July 10, 2014. The documents state, "the record of evidence and established case law strongly support Defendants' position that Plaintiff resigned from employment and is not entitled to retract his resignation."
The brief purports Mathis' frustration with disrespect, stemmed from his claim of unfair contributions with his medical coverage and his unfair annual salary -- stating that Mathis made demands in a phone conversation with Bruno for immediate action which the mayor refused. This led to Mathis hanging up after allegedly saying, "Adios, a**hole."
The parties involved agreed to continue discussions and were ordered by the judge to get this resolved for the best interest of the people of Berkeley Heights by July 30 or proceed with trial.
DiPasquale will remain the "officer in charge" of the Berkeley Heights Police Department until the matter is resolved.