WILDWOOD - City Police Lt. Richard Adair filed a lawsuit today seeking to have a court order enforced that required Wildwood Mayor Gary DeMarzo to choose whether he will continue to serve as mayor or as a police officer.
DeMarzo, elected to office in May 2007, took an unpaid leave of absence from his job as a police officer, and was allowed to hold both roles under court rulings that restricted his participation in the city's operations related to the police department and other areas.
But an appellate court ruled on Feb. 22 that DeMarzo must choose one position or the other.
"DeMarzo has 20 days from the date of this opinion to choose whether he wants to retain the appointed office of Wildwood police officer or give up that office and retain the elected office of commissioner. DeMarzo shall communicate his choice in writing directly to the board of commissioners within the specified timeframe," the appellate court wrote in its Feb. 22 decision.
DeMarzo has not made that choice, however, although he did place his name on the city's layoff list along with four other police officers.
In his lawsuit, Adair said being on the layoff list would not satisfy the court's requirements because officers who are laid off are entitled to "non-competitive re-employment as a police officer at a future date."
Superior Court Judge Valerie Armstrong has scheduled a hearing in the matter for Wednesday.
Attorney Colin Bell, representing Adair, has asked the judge to place temporary restraints on DeMarzo prohibiting him from acting as mayor or commissioner untilt the case is resolved.