SPOTSWOOD, NJ - At the July 17 borough council meeting, embroiled Business Administrator Dawn McDonald was placed on administrative leave. The Spotswood Borough Council, which includes Council President Charlie Spicuzzo, Councilman Theodore Ricci, Councilman John Melillo, Councilman Jose Rivera and Councilman Larry Kraemer, voted 4-1 to pass a resolution requesting Mayor Edward Seely place McDonald on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation. Spicuzzo, Melillo, Rivera and Kraermer voted in favor of the resolution while Ricci voted against it.
McDonald was named in a Tort Claims Notice along with Mayor Seely from the legal offices of Gina Mendola Longarzo in early April on behalf of Spotswood Police Chief Michael Zarro and Captain Philip Corbisiero of the Spotswood Police Department. A Tort Claims Notice is a document sent to a government entity notifying that a lawsuit may be filed. A Tort Claims Notice is not a lawsuit. Parties must wait six months before filing a lawsuit. After that he or she has until the statue of limitations runs out to file suit.
The Tort Claims Notice contained an array of accusations including specifics alleged by Zarro and Corbisiero accussing McDonald and Seely of various acts of corruption including bribery and creating a hostile work environment. Shortly after the filing of the Tort Claims Notice former Spotswood Emergency Services Director David Nichols handed a letter of resignation to Spicuzzo during the open public forum portion of the April 15 borough council meeting.
Nichols did not read the letter in its entirely at the meeting, but did point toward a hostile work environment that was negatively impacting his mental and physical health. Since his resignation, Nichols has filed his own Tort Claims Notice.
An independent labor counsel will be conducting an investigation into the accusations specified in the Tort Claims Notices.
McDonald was appointed as the borough's Business Administrator in January of 2013 by former Spotswood mayor Nicholas Poliseno. McDonald previously served as a deputy clerk for the borough from 2006 to 2009. Prior to becoming the BA in Spotswood, McDonald was an administrator in Interlaken and worked in the Public Works and the Parks and Recreation Departments in East Brunswick.