A closed-doors meeting was held at Town Hall on Sunday, Jan. 13, to discuss the possibility of creating a job within the Parsippany Police Department, according to Township Council President Brian Stanton. The statement, which came during the public comment question of Tuesday's Town Council meeting, backs up one allegation made by council candidate Dr. Louis Valori.
The town has swirled with unanswered questions and controversy over Valori's charges that Mayor James Barberio and his administration offered to create a public relations job within the police department and took resumes from Valori and Councilman Paul Carifi, who are running on a joint ticket with Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce and council candidate Robert J. Peluso for the primary election.
Valori alleges that the mayor's idea was to find the two retired law enforcement professionals alternate employment so that they would not offer a challenge to Barberio's re-election hopes.
According to Valori, the mayor, Township Attorney John Inglesino and Stanton were in attendance at a nighttime meeting at Town Hall on Jan. 13 to discuss the potential job. Valori contended that Stanton was tasked with surveying his council colleagues to see if they had an interest in supporting the creation of a new police position.
Councilmen Carifi and Jonathan Nelson confirmed to Patch last week that Stanton indeed asked about the possible job and found the idea had little council support. But no Parsippany official alleged to have been in attendance Jan. 13 would answer Patch's questions regarding Valori's contentions, including the matter of whether a secret Sunday meeting indeed took place.
Parsippany resident Pat Petaccia questioned Stanton on whether the meeting occurred.
Stanton answered yes.
"Was Mr. Inglesino there?" she asked.
Stanton replied that the lawyer was there, but in answer to a followup question said he did not know whether or how much Inglesino was paid for working that night.
Petaccia then asked Stanton whether the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the creation of a new position within the police force and whether he, Stanton, was asked to poll the other council members about this new job.
The council president answered in the affirmative.
Petaccia asked if Stanton had asked for Valori's and Carifi's resumes at the meeting. He said no.
"Did you ask them for their resumes as a result of this meeting?"
"Absolutely not," stated Stanton.
Petaccia tried again.
"Did you ask them for their resumes at any time?"
Stanton answered that yes, he did ask the men for their resumes.
The council president later told Patch that he simply was telling the truth. At the same time, he was insistent about one point.
"The allegations of bribery are not true," Stanton said. "There was no bribe."
For his part, Valori asserted that his story is accurate and that time will show that he is telling the truth. He also insisted that he was formally offered a job by the Barberio administration.
Barberio was not in attendance for the meeting, and his absence was noted by many residents. Though the town's chief executive is not required to attend the monthly council gatherings, he usually is present.
Residents also noticed that among the agenda items for the March 19 meeting is a resolution asking the council to consent to the mayor's newest appointment to the town's Municipal Alliance Committee. The proposed new member is Brenda Barberio, who is married to the mayor.
Earlier this year, the mayor sent letters to Louis Valori and Robert Peluso, longtime MAC members, informing them that he was not reappointing them to the committee.