SPOTSWOOD, NJ - At the Monday, April 15 borough council meeting, Emergency Services Director David Nichols handed a letter of resignation to Council President Charlie Spicuzzo during the open public forum portion of the scheduled meeting.
"I won't read the whole thing," Nichols said as he approached the podium. "I will just go to the last paragraph."
"I started in EMS in 1988 as a volunteer with the Port Reading First Aid Squad," Nichols said, reading from his prepared letter. "Since that time, I have served my community honorably and with pride, answering somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 calls. I have worked my way up the ranks to my current title of director with no blemishes on my record. My time in EMS has now come to an end because of the harassment and what I view as a hostile work environment, which is directly affecting my health and well-being. I will be retiring from EMS effective immediately."
After reading the final paragraph of his letter of resignation, Nichols left the council meeting prompting emotional words of support from Spotswood resident and former mayoral candidate Jackie Palmer as well as the former director of the Spotswood EMS Miriam Barbarise whom Nichols worked under before she left the position.
"I am so angry right now and so disappointed in this town," Palmer said following Nichols departure from the room. "This makes me so angry. We have such a great EMS department."
"And now what's going to happen to the EMS," Barbarise said. "No director in sight again. Who you going to look for now? What's going to happen to EMS? I'm here because I cared about EMS."
Spicuzzo thanked Nichols for his service before Nichols exited the meeting room.
Nichols joined the Spotswood EMS in June of 2016 and became acting director a year later. In March of 2017, he was made director. For the past five weeks, Nichols has been on medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Enacted in 1993, the FMLA guarantees employees in certain professions up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without the threat of termination for medical or family reasons. FMLA is often utilized by employees for a personal as well as a family member's illness, pregnancy, adoption or a family member's military leave. Employers are required to continue the health benefits of employees who qualify for coverage.
"I don't," Nichols said when asked if he knew what he would be doing following his resignation as Spotswood EMS Director.