Law & Justice

Mathis Will Continue To Litigate For Reinstatement as Chief of Police

989f921d33a737030098_fed1c2e4977e27f6f529_2eafe75589039d6dbb7c_edb89f709ec5a4752ef7_9f8f9ffe25d475a5079f_c70959bae8a00f55ad3d_dc450a998e9135c07018_1003479d4ea60ee00236_55072af69cca9951caf8_stock_image_-_law_revised_-_v1.jpg
989f921d33a737030098_fed1c2e4977e27f6f529_2eafe75589039d6dbb7c_edb89f709ec5a4752ef7_9f8f9ffe25d475a5079f_c70959bae8a00f55ad3d_dc450a998e9135c07018_1003479d4ea60ee00236_55072af69cca9951caf8_stock_image_-_law_revised_-_v1.jpg

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - "Today's court ruling was not in my favor to actively remain in my position. This was an emergent application to currently stay and lead the department. Litigation will continue as it is my goal to once again serve and protect the fine residents of Berkeley Heights as their Chief of Police," stated former Berkeley Heights Chief of Police Mike Mathis per a statement on Facebook regarding Thursday's court ruling. 

This statement comes after the ruling by Judge Mark Ciarrocca denied Mathis, who was seeking temporary restraints reinstating him to the position of Chief of the Township of Berkeley Heights Police Department.

Ciarrocca stated in the ruling that Mathis failed to demonstrate clearly or convincingly evidence a reasonable probability of success on the merits of his claim for reinstatement as the Chief of Police.

Sign Up for E-News

In addition, the ruling stated that Mathis failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the Mayor lacks the authority to unilaterally accept the Chief of Police's resignation as set forth in the protocols of the Berkeley Heights Township Municipal Code. Stating that the Mayor is the appropriate authority over the police division. 

The Court further finds that Mathis has not satisfied his burden of proof with respect to demonstrating an actual, immediate, and imminent threat of irreparable harm that is neither remote nor speculative. 

The Court found that reinstatement would impose a significant hardship on the township. 

Mathis, who has more than 29 years of service with the Berkeley Heights Police Department, last four as Chief, sent an email to the Mayor on June 16 advising his intent to retire from the Berkeley Heights Police Department effective July 1. Stating, "I will provide a formal letter of resignation in regard to this matter but this email shall serve as notice."

Mayor Joe Bruno later had a conversation with Mathis regarding the underlying issues behind this, leading to a heated exchange among the parties. The underlying issues are regarding policy debates involving ordinances regarding the police department as well as the compensation of the chief.

Bruno reached out to Mathis the following day to inquire as to whether Mathis intended to resign per his June 16 email. This is when Mathis allegedly responded affirmatively "Adios, a**hole" and hung up. This is not Mathis' recollection according to his attorney Vito Gagliardi.

Within an hour of that conversation, Bruno emailed the members of the Township Council advising the council that he accepts the "resignation due to retirement" of Chief Mathis. 

Approximately two hours later, Mathis responded to the email confirming his resignation stating that he regretfully leaves due to the lack of respect shown by Mayor Bruno and Councilman Woodruff.  

At the June 24 Township Council meeting, there was no "resignation" by Mathis before the Council for consideration. Mathis, thereafter, reconsidered his decision to retire and ultimately withdrew his retirement application with the Division of Pensions and Benefits. 

Mathis met with Bruno and communicated his decision to remain employed as Chief of Police, and sent an email attempting to retract his resignation on June 25. On June 30, Bruno emailed Mathis to "memorialize" prior conversations that his resignation had been accepted effective July 1.

When Mathis reported to work on July 1, he was advised that Captain Schafer was the "Officer-In-Charge" and the Acting Chief of Police on an interim basis as set forth in an Executive Order dated June 27, 2014. Mathis was removed from payroll and relinquished his service weapon, Township-issued vehicle, and key to his office, pending the results of this matter by court. Since, Lt. John DiPasquale has been appointed Officer in Charge.

Mathis claims that his removal from his position as Chief of Police was unlawful feeling that this attempt at removing him from his position without due process violates the Police Chief's Bill of Rights and further contends that the Mayor's actions violates his constitutional due process of rights.

Jim Patterson, the attorney for Bruno and the Township, argued that Mathis' resignation was made and accepted with due consideration by the Mayor who had full authority to do so.

Bruno had previously informed TAP into Berkeley Heights, "I am amicable to settle the remaining matters out of court."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

WFP Tax Partners Walks You Through 4 Step Tax Return Process

February 22, 2018

Over 80% of Tax Returns Have Errors or Missed Deductions. You're Probably Paying More Than Your Fair Share in Taxes

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Tax returns certainly give a clear picture of the past year, but WFP Tax Partners believes it's wise to strategize for the current year to have a plan for moving forward. 

At your tax appointment, they ...

Reminder: Free Wellness Program for Union County Military Women

All Union County women with military service – veterans, active duty and reserve – are invited to join “Boots 2 Heels,” a free event designed to foster wellness and connect women with resources and guidance for empowerment. Boots 2 Heels will be held on Saturday, February 24 at the Westfield Armory, located at 500 Rahway Avenue in Westfield.

The event is free but ...

CSA's 5th Annual Pasta Dinner Fundraiser Set for Sunday

Is everyone ready to come together as a community and break bread to support the CSA? It's time for The Community Service Association of New Providence's 5th Annual Pasta & Meatball Dinner! This fun, family-friendly event will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25, at the DeCorso Community Center, 15 East Fourth Street, New Providence. Pasta, meatballs, and dessert will be served from 3-7 ...

Caregiver Conference Sunday, Feb. 25, Focuses on Caregiver's Needs

 

Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, (JFSCNJ) a non-sectarian health and social service agency, will be hosting a Caregiver Conference called, “Caring for a Loved One While Being Mindful of Your Own Needs,” from 10 a.m. to noon, Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, Halpern Building, 655 Westfield Ave. Elizabeth.  

 The Conference, ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...

We Need More Women Like Colleen Mahr in Municipal, County and State Government

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to support Colleen Mahr for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee  (UCDC) and am encouraging my Scotch Plains peers to join me.

I was a first time candidate wanting to make a difference in my hometown of Scotch Plains, when Mayor Mahr of neighboring Fanwood stepped in to help me campaign and win my election to be Councilwoman three years ago.

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, February 22

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Thu, February 22, 6:00 PM

UCEDC, Cranford

Next Level Business Planning

Business & Finance

Fri, February 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Carousel_image_b59229b3972266545812_magnet_fundraising_auction_2018_flyer_0219

Fri, February 23, 6:30 PM

Union County Vocational Technical Schools, West Hall Cafeteria, Scotch Plains

Union County Magnet High School Silent Auction

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sat, February 24

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sat, February 24, 10:00 AM

Municipal Court Room/Council Chambers, BERKELEY HEIGHTS

Return Berkeley Heights Public Library's Books, ...

Other

I've Always Wanted to be a Doctor...Or an English Teacher

Think about the impossibility of the task we lay in front of high school students.  In addition to getting good grades, filling up a resume, finding the right colleges and writing countless admissions essays they also need to decide on their life’s passion at 17 years old...or do they?

As a college admissions representative the first question most students would ask me was whether ...

Now That The Dust Has Settled…Smart Tax Moves In 2018

Now that the dust has settled, here are some smart tax moves to lower your taxes and/or avoid higher taxes/penalties in 2018. These steps may be especially helpful if you live in high property and high income tax states (e.g. New Jersey, New York, California) since state and local tax deductions are capped.  Unfortunately all these changes mean you’ll need more time and energy to ...

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...