HOLMDEL, NJ - It seems the Mayor of Holmdel has had enough.
“I’d like to have an independent audit. Have them come in and run a list of all checks being cut to all third parties. We need to begin a process to make sure that everything is as clean and transparent as possible.” Said Mayor Hinds
During the regular township meeting on Tuesday, Holmdel Mayor Eric Hinds called on the Township Committee to bring in an independent auditor, not affiiated with Holmdel in any way, to review the finances of the township and provide transparency to the public. The Township Attorney mentioned the option of the existing auditor doing it but Hinds wasn’t interested.
“I want someone who has nothing to do with anything here.” said Hinds.
When reached by telephone today Mayor Hinds commented to TAPinto Holmdel: "Fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers has always been my number one priority. We've had a disruptive change in the office of the CFO and the Administrator. I am taking the politics out of this, and we are going to have a thoughtful conversation about policy. As Mayor I want to have a third party look at every invoice since January. There are two ways to lower taxes: bring in more revenue as I have accomplished with Bell Works, and secondly lower expenses. If we identify ways to lower expenses through this process then we are going to do that. If there is any professional who did not follow the proper process then they will not get paid."
This comes after months of acrimony and investigation related to the former Township Administrator and a new investigation about to get underway over professional services at the request of Committeeman Greg Buontempo. Buontempo is also seeking legal guidance on issuing subpoenas to people. He didn’t state who he would subpoena.
The audit will examine all the of bills paid to the professionals such as the township attorneys, engineers and vendors who do business with and for the town. Every dollar will be under the microscope. The Mayor requested the information for calendar year 2019. Pascucci indicated he may want to go back further. An RFP will be needed to receive proposals, award an agreement and begin what is essentially a forensic audit of purchasing procedures.
All members of the Township Committee approved the initiative brought forth by Hinds.
See video here: (excerpt from CILU video)
The genesis of the issues appear to begin with the office of the administrator Donna Viero and friction with certain elected officials. The Deputy Mayor Nikolis publicly called for her initial investigation with a long list of complaints including the accusation that she did not help his son with his Eagle Scout project. It ended up playing out in the public, unusually, because Vieiro chose to force the matter out of executive session by law and forcing it into the public.
She was accused with nepotism among other things yet the charges didn't gain much traction and has proven quite expensive for Holmdel. She was on full salary while suspended and she left in what is called 'good standing' by the Township Committee. They also agreed to pay her full salary until the end of the year. She has full health insurance as well.
TAPinto Holmdel reported on this OPRA request HERE.