As this election season intensifies in bellwether Bergen County, an attorney representing a canned Bergen County employee wants a Democratic legislator to draft a bill of impeachment against County Executive Kathe Donovan.
Robert A. Tandy of Woodcliff Lake represents plaintiff Jane Linter, whom Donovan dismissed as the director of human services, and whom the freeholder board later voted to re-instate.
According to Tandy’s letter, which he sent to Assemblywoman Marlene Caride (D-36) on July 21st, “In or around December 2013, Ms. Linter complained directly to Freeholder Maura DeNicola about what Plaintiff reasonably believed to be violations of the law.
“Ms. Linter advised Freeholder DeNicola that she believed the County Executive was unlawfully abusing her power and falsely charging Rudy Pastercyzk with criminal activity in an effort to remove him from his position and replace him with the Chief of Staff, Jeanne Baratta’s, life-long friend.”
Attorney Ed Trawinski and Baratta subsequently called Linter in, according to Tandy, and Trawinski asked her, “Are you on our side?”
In mid-April, Baratta informed Linter – a former member of Donovan’s transition team – that Donovan was relieving her of her duties.
“What are the charges?” Tandy said Linter asked.
“There aren’t any, you serve at the pleasure of the County Executive and she wishes to relieve you of your duties.”
Following the freeholders’ vote to re-instate her over Donovan’s order to fire her, Linter showed up at her job on or about July 8th, but received a directive to return to another position: early childhood specialist.
Tandy’s letter to Caride says New Jersey law is clear.
“Misconduct in office is corrupt misbehavior by an officer in the exercise of the duties of her office or while acting under color of his office,” the attorney wrote. “To ensure that no public officer shall, in the exercise of the duties of her office or while acting under color of her office (1) do any act which is wrongful in itself – malfeasance, (2) do any otherwise lawful act in a wrongful manner – malfeasance, or (3) omit to do any act which is required of her by the duties of her office – nonfeasance.
“Any corrupt violation by an officer in any of these three ways is a common-law misdemeanor known by some such name as ‘misconduct of office’ or ‘official misconduct,’” Tandy added. “As such, the County Executive’s repeated unlawful actions constitute a misdemeanor in office, subject to impeachment power of the State Legislature.”