January 16, 2013 at 9:03 AM
PATERSON, NJ - In an unusual move, city officials are trying to force Paterson firefighter Charlayne Powell to accept an involuntary disability retirement.
The City Council met for more than an hour behind closed doors Tuesday night discussing the situation. The council had been scheduled to vote on a resolution authorizing city staff members to process Powell’s retirement papers. But it decided to delay that vote until April.
Officials have declined to discuss details of why they are trying to force Powell’s retirement, saying it was a personnel issue that had to be kept private.
Powell’s lawyer, Nestor Guzman, also refused to get into specifics of the case, citing his client’s privacy. “I’m very hopeful that she’ll be back to work soon,’’ Guzman said. Guzman said he was ready to go to court if the council had voted to impose the retirement.
Records show that Powell has been a city firefighter since November 2006. After five years on the job, her salary was $64,,611.
Fire Chief Michael Posterino and Fire Director Glenn Brown spoke with the council during Tuesday night’s closed session. At times, Powell and her attorney also were called into the locked chambers to discuss the situation.