WILDWOOD — The City Commission fired its business administrator this week and rescinded a raise for the deputy police chief.
Mayor Ernie Troiano said Friday the commission removed Business Administrator Dale Goodreau, who was hired in 2010 by the former commission, which was ousted in last month’s election.
Troiano also struck down a new contract that former Mayor Gary DeMarzo granted to former Deputy Police Chief William Cooper, which included a $30,000 raise. Troiano said the contract changes were granted May 11, the day after DeMarzo lost the election.
Cooper is back to working as a lieutenant, Troiano said.
“He’s a good guy who got caught up in the middle of this situation,” Troiano said. “It’s absolutely not personal.”
Troiano called the raise a “violation of law and a breach of municipal government ethics.”
DeMarzo disputed that contention.
“Anyone can make sweeping statements. I’d suggest he file the proper criminal complaint or ethics complaint, ” DeMarzo said.
DeMarzo added it was a mistake for Troiano to go without a business administrator. Troiano said the move will save the city $100,000 per year.
“I don’t see the benefit of not having a seasoned business administrator,” DeMarzo said. “If you don’t have someone who is apolitical and unbiased, you’re going to find yourself back in the same deficit that led to Mayor Troiano’s administrative downfall.”
DeMarzo took office as mayor in December 2009 after voters recalled Troiano and Commissioner Bill Davenport in a special election brought about largely by opposition to the city’s high taxation.
Troiano and DeMarzo have been bitter political enemies over the years.
Troiano sought the court decision forcing DeMarzo to choose between his elected office and his employment as a city police officer. DeMarzo now faces trial on charges of official misconduct and conspiracy over allegedly using city funds to pay for private legal work in connection with that dispute. He has pleaded not guilty.
Under his administration, DeMarzo and the city commission cut $2 million from the city budget this year, mostly in payroll, through controversial layoffs.
“The running joke in Wildwood is Ernie got kicked out for raising taxes and I got kicked out for lowering them,” DeMarzo said.
The animosity between the two political foes remained Friday.
DeMarzo said Troiano is off base in characterizing the city as $2.5 million or more in the red. When he left office this month, the city’s ledgers were balanced, DeMarzo said.
“The mayor wants to spend $2.5 million to bring back friends and family and pass that cost on to taxpayers,” Troiano said. “There is no deficit. He was left with a balanced budget.”
“Absolutely, unequivocally no way,” Troiano replied. “Mr. DeMarzo is living in La-La Land to make that kind of statement.”
Troiano said the former commission’s budget included unacceptable cuts to the city’s Police Department.
“His whole existence in the city was a vendetta — a vendetta against the Police Department,” Troiano said.
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