Russo Wants Bergin’s Badge
I wasn’t there that late to see it, but got several emails from loyal Hoboken411 readers saying a fairly quiet city council meeting erupted into shouts and calls for the removal of Public Safety Director Bill Bergin. The former Hoboken fire fighter who moved to Bergen County to retire before being brought back to the city by Mayor Dave Roberts in the wake of the SWAT scandal has been less than cooperative with the council. At a budget meeting Bergin famously said he wanted the council to “shut off the cameras” and discuss things “behind closed doors.” He has also refused to release the Corrigan Report on the SWAT investigation, which includes embarrassing information about outgoing Police Chief Carmen LaBruno.
Here is one of the emails I got from someone who stayed at the meeting until midnight:
Another council circus
It sure looks like the City Council has had enough of the way Bill Bergin and Dave Roberts have handled the SWAT scandal! Last night the council again requested copies of the Corrigan Report that lays out the case against members of the SWAT team, including Lieutenant Angelo Andriani. They were quite concerned that Roberts just wants to have them approve a huge retirement payout to Chief Carmen LaBruno to make him go away without releasing any of the potentially embarrassing information he may have stored up in his vault of Hoboken secrets. Rumors are strong that LaBruno has dirt on half the town, including the Mayor. I’m sure if LaBruno gets screwed, so do many others. Might be interesting, right?
I know some members of the council have been asking for the report since it was finished, and Roberts and his lawyer Steve Kleinman have been keeping it from them. Most council members have been asking for this, with Mike Russo and Beth Mason being the most forceful about it in the beginning, and now all of them (even normally “hardly a peep” Nino Giacchi) getting quite upset with the administration’s refusal to hand it over to the CC members.
Last night they said that you (Hoboken411) posted a copy of the report on the web. When members of the council again demanded their own clean copies (minus the crossed out names), Kleinman refused. He said “Attorney General guidelines” in internal affairs cases prevent him from doing so. Peter Cammarano pointed out that the council has on several occasions been given such reports in the past when discussing litigation involving officers who have sued the city.
Things got really nuts when Bergin started yelling at the council, saying he didn’t care if the report was “on the 411 and those other Google outfits, I will never ever give you the report as long as I am Director!” That was the final straw that got Mike Russo to immediately call for the removal of the Public Safety Director. Russo called on Kleinman to immediately draft a removal resolution, with Theresa Castellano saying she would second the motion. The lawyer asked for a recess, and came back to say he did not believe the council could take such an action on with cause and a two-thirds vote, but that they needed to schedule a proper hearing and could not do it on the fly.
Read the rest of the letter, and see some excerpts of the Corrigan Report after the jump!!
Bergin stood up again to explain his actions by saying he was “Irish and Italian.” Cammarano said something about proceeding with extreme caution as the city’s “track record on labor and employment suits is abysmal.” Once things calmed down, Russo accepted Bergin’s apology, and said if the report is not hand delivered to each council member today he will move ahead with his call to remove the director. Some people also want Kleinman removed from his job, something which Beth Mason mentioned a couple months ago.
Kleinman said regardless if the report is on Hoboken411, that he “just wants to preserve the integrity of the process.” Mason angrily responded that keeping the report from the council looked like a cover-up. Others laughed off the idea that the process had any integrity, with whilstleblowers being charged and top brass being given retirement golden parachutes by Dave Roberts. Doesn’t that make you sick too? Russo agreed there is the perception something is being hidden. Giacchi said the council would likely be asked to authorize an exit package for the Chief by the Mayor, without being given the full story (the report) about what happened. He said, “If there was misbehavior, then other terms of the (Chief’s) contract may not apply,” and the golden parachute may not be necessary if charges are filed. Giacchi wants the opportunity to see the Report and make his own decision. It was quite a circus! I can’t wait till other people watch the embarrassment on Cablevision!”
Corrigan Report Excerpts
In case you haven’t downloaded the report yet, here are some excerpts to pique your interest.
Again, the full report is here. Should Bergin be fired? Is Roberts covering something up to save his own behind? Do you care?
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