Former Bloomfield town attorney Brian Aloia is claiming he was illegally fired and has filed paperwork to sue the town and their new representation. Earlier this month, the town dropped Aloia from his position and appointed Michael Parlavecchio of the law firm Bevan, Mosca and Giuditta to the position of town attorney.
In his filing, Aloia claims that the town violated the town code. Aloia also claims that the firm’s appointment violates the pay-to-play law.
“Under the pay to pay law there is a specific procedure you need to follow to hire a professional service,” Aloia told PolitickerNJ. “A law firm is a professional service. They didn’t follow that procedure.”
Aloia was first appointed town attorney in January 2007. He was reappointed to his position annually but, was not reinstated earlier this month. According to Aloia’s filing, the appointment of the Bevan firm does not meet the criteria for either the “fair and open process” or “non-fair and open process” as required by pay-to-play.
“Based upon the violation of the pay-to-play law I felt I had an ethical and legal obligation as the town attorney to take action,” Aloia said.
As of now, Aloia is looking for the Bevan firm to be dropped and for him to be provisionally reinstated as town attorney as well as whatever other “relief” the court deems necessary, according to the documents.
According to Aloia, the move to terminate him without the appropriate procedure was “politically motivated” on the part of Mayor Venezia and Bloomfield Township Administrator Michael Watkins.
“I understand that they can replace a township attorney,” Aloia said. “For political reasons I believe they decided to replace me, which is fine. However, they cannot violate the law to do so. For some reason, with regard to my particular situation they decided to violate the law. It appears that the mayor and the township administrator orchestrated it actually at the meeting at that is one of the reasons I believe the law was violated.”
Aloia continued: “It is my understanding that the mayor is running off the line and that he doesn’t have the support of the Democratic Party. It is my belief that the mayor is trying to appoint people that are close to him for positions like mine.”
According to Venezia, however, the allegations that the termination was politically motivated are false.
“Mr. Aloia’s contract was not renewed because the township wanted to move in a new direction and hire an attorney with greater experience in land use and development issues, which his successor Michael Parlavecchio has a very strong background in,” said Venezia spokesman Phil Swibinski in a statement. “There was no political motivation behind the decision whatsoever and it was based only on the Mayor and Council’s desire to ensure that Bloomfield receives the best possible legal representation.”
The past few months have been difficult for the Bloomfield municipal government. First, Councilman Elias Chalet was arrested and indicted for allegedly taking $15,000 in bribes. Then, Bloomfield Councilman Joseph Lopez got into a physical altercation with Councilman Chalet’s relative, Daniel Chalet. After that, Daniel Chalet was arrested for an unrelated assault against an Uber driver/probation violation. While all this was happening, a citizen group called CORRUPT started rallying to call on Venezia to ask Councilman Chalet to resign as well as air other grievances with the town’s government.