Mayor Jamie Barberio called out Councilmen Paul Carifi and Jonathan Nelson in a letter to the council last week. He "was shocked and appalled when the Township Council failed to take action” on resolutions regarding health and dental benefits for Township employees.
"Given their past antics, I am not surprised that Councilmen Nelson and Carifi attempted to turn our Township employees’ health benefits and our taxpayers’ money into a political issue,” Barberio said. “I express my disdain towards Councilmen Nelson and Carifi for working against the resolutions.”
Since then, Carifi and Nelson have responded; Carifi claims the mayor is lying and Nelson said Barberio’s threats are hollow. The issue will be discussed and voted on again at Monday’s special meeting at 7 p.m.
“In response to Mayor Barberio’s letter, I would like to state that he is repeatedly lying,” said Carifi. “The Mayor states in his letter that all employees health and dental benefits would discontinue on January 1, 2014. This is not true. I specifically asked Mr. Graham of Fairview Insurance this question after the Mayor stated this at last Tuesday’s council meeting. Mr. Graham stated more than once that the insurance benefits would still continue for all employees even if the contract wasn't renewed that night.”
“It's unfortunate that Jamie has resorted to fear mongering, invective, and hollow threats,” said Nelson. “The bottom line is that the Township Council has a responsibility to carefully consider the single largest line item in the municipal budget.”
Barberio said that at Tuesday's meeting, "rather than ask intelligent questions and make informed decisions regarding the renewal of these contracts, Councilmen Jonathan Nelson and Paul Carifi actively lobbied against the proposed contracts by badgering the Fairview representative.”
In response to this statement from the Mayor, Carifi said, “this again is a lie. (Graham) was simply asked questions about the contract and if in fact the insurance benefits would continue for all employees January 1, 2014."
“Mayor Barberio states that this is a political issue, I ask how is that. Because members of the council are doing their due diligence for the tax payers of Parsippany with a contract of this magnitude (over $9 million) he has a problem with that,” said Carifi. “All that was requested was that the council have an opportunity, more than just a few minutes after Mr. Graham's presentation to review the contract and the other proposals that were submitted. Again with a contract of this magnitude I see no problem with that as I'm sure the taxpayers do not as well.”
“At the last council meeting of the year, the Council and public were presented with a five page health insurance power point presentation that said nothing but gobbledygook any child could put together,” said Nelson. “Pertinent questions like what our fixed cost will be, who our actual terminal liability carrier is and what kind of contract we will have, need to be answered. Parsippany self insures it's employees and the Township has until the end of January to carefully consider its options.”
Carifi questioned why “the Mayor is trying to push this through quickly without thinking of the taxpayers first.”
“I would ask the Mayor to stop attacking the Council for doing their job and working for the taxpayers of Parsippany,” said Carifi.
Nelson said, “the mayor's job is to present and prove to the council a policy that offers the most coverage for the least amount of money. He has yet to do so. The days of the Township Council doing what the mayor says just because he says so are over, and that's a win for the entire township.”