WEST WILDWOOD - A former Ocean City business administrator has been named the borough's acting deputy clerk, filling a void in the Borough Clerk's Office.
Borough Solicitor Paul Baldini said he recommended the services of Jersey Professional Management to Mayor Herbert Frederick, and the mayor hired the firm to provide administrative services to the borough.
Richard Deaney, who retired as Ocean City's business administrator in 2006, was appointed Wednesday on an interim basis by the mayor, and will receive a formal appointment, Baldini said. Deaney will be paid $10 per hour for his services.
Baldini said he advised Frederick to name Deaney on an interim basis because "government's got to function."
Borough Clerk Dorothy Tomlin, who has served as clerk here since 1974, was "administratively excused" from her duties effective Aug. 7, Frederick said.
Frederick said Tomlin continues to receive her salary and still works as the borough's tax collector and treasurer.
Frederick said a study commissioned by the borough that reviewed the operations in the Clerk's Office led to Tomlin's change in status.
"The borough's concerns and issues have been forwarded to the state of New Jersey (Department of Community Affairs) for their review and determination," Frederick said in a news release.
Commissioner Scott Golden disagreed with Frederick's decision.
"From what I have seen, it's a bunch of trumped up charges," he said of any concerns about Tomlin. He added, "I think Ms. Tomlin should be reinstated immediately."
Golden also said Betty O'Hala, who works in tax collection, was appointed the deputy clerk in the past and should continue to serve in that capacity.
After Tomlin's status changed, Chief Financial Officer Jud Moore was asked to step in as acting deputy clerk, but on Monday, Moore resigned from that position.
Moore, a Cumberland County resident who works one day per week in the borough as CFO, said he could not devote the time needed for the position.
"There's too many issues down there to handle," Moore said.
Those issues include an effort to remove Frederick and Commissioner Gerard McNamara from office through a recall election.
Two recall committees have been formed partly in response to the mayor's plan to have the Wildwood Water Utility operate the town's water services. The committee for Fredrick's recall is currently gathering signatures while the committee for McNamara's recall is waiting to receive a certified copy of the approved notice to recall.
State law requires the clerk to return the notice three days after the committee has submitted its notice of intention to recall an elected official.
Resident Deborah Fox, a member of the McNamara recall committee, said Thursday that because the Clerk's Office has been disrupted, the committee has not received the notice it needs to move ahead with the recall effort.
In an letter to the borough dated Aug. 13, Fox said the borough's failure to meet its statutory obligations is unacceptable.
"I am demanding that state law is followed to the letter and an answer to our notice of intention be rendered immediately," Fox wrote.
Baldini said Thursday evening that Deaney will be tasked with handling that matter as quickly as possible.
"There's nothing I could do without a clerk," Baldini said.
Rita Maroldo, a former borough commissioner, said she is supporting the recall effort and has been circulating petitions for Frederick's recall. She said the disruption in the Clerk's Office delayed the recall and in effect violated her rights.
Maroldo also questioned the decision to take the clerk's duties out of the hands of Tomlin, who started working for the borough in 1967 as deputy clerk.
"Now, he's playing with people's incomes and their pensions," she said of Frederick.
Frederick said Deaney will serve as acting deputy clerk and the Clerk's Office will function properly.
"I thought the best thing to do was to bring in somebody from the outside," Frederick said.
In the meantime, he said he is waiting to see what action the state will take regarding Tomlin's position.
"We'll move as quickly along as the state does," Frederick said.
Tomlin said she could not comment on her case.
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