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Valori Disqualified; James Vigilante Wins Council Seat

Councilman-elect calls his victory 'bittersweet.'

To the surprise of most observers in fully packed Town Hall Council Chambers Tuesday night, what was expected by many—the election of Dr. Louis Valori to fill newly appointed —did not materialize.

Instead, the unexpired term seat went to James Vigilante, the former councilman and present U.S. Air Force Reservist and businessperson who, along with Valori and Julie Carifi, had been selected as .

The special council session Tuesday night took a turn even before it began. Inside and outside Town Hall, people whispered rumors that Valori, a former member and—he thought—a retired member of the , would be disqualified from serving as an elected municipal official.

The whispers grew louder after the meeting was called to order by President Brian Stanton and then the council moved into closed session.

After a brief break, the council and Township Attorney John Inglesino reappeared, and the lawyer addressed the audience.

Inglesino explained that Valori is actually still an employee of the police department. He is on what is called "terminal leave," according to the attorney, a status for retiring employees who leave the job and opt to use up banked vacation and personal leave.

"The council can make decisions that impact the department, which creates a conflict of interest," Inglesino said, adding that he fully investigated the matter and found several examples of case law that support his position.

"He is on terminal leave, so he is not retired; he is an employee of the township," he asserted. "The township agrees that prior to retiring, an employee may use personal and vacation days.

"The key there is it establishes that prior to retiring, 'an employee may use...' It is my view that Mr. Valori is ineligible to serve as a councilman."

Inglesino said there was another issue.

, he said, and the law allows the GOP committee 15 days, or until Wednesday night, to submit three names to the council. With the disqualification of Valori, that left two names: Julie Carifi and James Vigilante. The statutory requirement is for three nominees. Failing that, the lawyer noted, the council has 15 additional days to select its own appointee.

"I spoke with the Republican committee chair Nicole Green to discuss this matter and see if she could convene another meeting," Inglesino recounted. "She said that the bylaws require 72 hours notice for an emergency meeting, and therefore it was impossible for the committee to convene another meeting.

"That being the case, it is my view that the council is able to select a person from the Republican Party to fill Mr. Cesaro's seat."

The council opted to vote. Councilman Michael dePierro nominated Vigilante. 

The process—not the candidate—left a bitter taste in the mouths of many at the meeting. As the ultimately unanimous votes were being cast, even Stanton announced that his vote was a "by default, unfair yes."

Valori took the news with apparent grace, even though he had brought his entire family to the meeting and was supported by the appearance of local dignitaries and PPD officers. He walked around Council Chambers and shook the hands of nearly every person there, thanking them for coming. 

Outside of chambers, Valori displayed a flash of anger as he spoke with Patch—and he aimed his comments at Mayor James Barberio.

"I got a phone call from Mr. Inglesino at 5 p.m. telling me that I was disqualified," he said. "Five p.m. Two hours before the meeting. I asked why, and he said that because I was on terminal leave until Oct. 1, I was considered a township employee."

Asked by Inglesino if he had sought legal advice, Valori said he had gone to the mayor and asked about his status to ensure that he was eligible to run for the council seat.

"Mayor Barberio was on the conference call with him," Valori noted.

"Jamie goes, 'Yeah, I talked to him about it.'

"I said, 'Yes, Mayor. I spoke to you about it in April and you came back and told me that I am eligible for running for the position when I'm on terminal leave.'

"So on May 1," he continued, "I sent a letter to the [police] chief saying I am going to be retired as of June 1, so there would not be a conflict of interest."

According to Valori, his contract reads that once someone goes on terminal leave, he or she is no longer a police officer and can no longer go back to being a police officer.

"Am I on the payroll still? Yes, but I'm no longer a police officer. That's money owed to me. Why would I have resigned June 1 when I technically can stay until Oct. 1 when I'm still part of the pension system?"

Valori said there was no reason for him to lie.

"I find it very dishonest and disingenuous to call me at five o'clock. This makes the Republican Party look very bad. It's unhealthy for the party and for the taxpayers. And I was going to give 100 percent of the [council salary] back to the town.

"The mayor lied. And that's very disappointing."

Barberio had a different view of the situation.

"I did not lie," he said. "It is not my fault that Mr. Valori did not do his due diligence. Why would he ask me about his legal status? I am not an attorney. Why didn't he ask the township attorney? He only has himself to blame."

For his part, Councilman-elect Vigilante said he agreed with Valori, whom he called his best friend.

Speaking via phone from San Diego, where he is working this week at a U.S. Navy medical center as part of his commitment to the Air Force Reserves, Vigilante called his win "bittersweet."

"I think what they did was a total injustice," he said. "Lou is one of those rare people who has both book smarts and common sense. What happened was not fair."

He said that while he is not pleased about how he ended up in the position, he is happy to be back on the Township Council.

"I have 12 years council experience, but my military experience has taught me to be open to learning new things," he said. 

Vigilante will be sworn in officially after he returns to Parsippany at the end of the week.

The term lasts only until the end of 2012, according to the Morris County Clerk's Office. As part of November's general election, Parsippany voters will elect someone—perhaps Vigilante, perhaps someone else—to fill the seat until its expiration at the end of 2013.

Councilman dePierro said he also was disappointed to see Valori disqualified, especially because he had been the Parsippany GOP'S top vote-getter Monday night.

"Perhaps if Lou had asked the township attorney earlier about this retirement thing, this would have been avoided," he said. "It's unfortunate, and I feel bad for him.

"We had four qualified candidates at that [municipal] committee meeting [including Milin Shah, who was tied for third with Julie Carifi and ended up six votes behind her in a runoff vote Monday]. Any of them would have served the township well. But this is the turn of events we are faced with."

GOP Committeewoman Mary Purzycki said she was displeased by what transpired and intimated that many likeminded voters will remember what happened to Lou Valori Tuesday in Council Chambers.

"There is a primary coming [next June], no doubt," she said.

Angelina June 28, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Im going to point out the obvious. It doesnt matter who the mayor is,he/she is going to want who they want on their team.The pres.of the US will do the same thing. Common sense! However,to defend the mayor,while he may have a group of people he wishes to have on his council he doesnt make the deicison & many of his council members dont always agree with him,hence this weeks events. If he did,Mr. Shah would have had his chance to succeed. Mr.Stanton also made that clear by saying he wouldve voted for Valori.The Mayor does not go in to the booth and vote for every1 in town.Most people,I would think,have a mind of their own. If they dont,its sad. U should feel sorry for them. Luckily,Mr Crawford has made it abundantly and embarrassingly clear that he is not one of those ppl. I applaud you. I vote for who I want to win,not who any1 else tells me to vote for. I have a mind of my own. Id like to think most people feel the same way about themselves. Dr. Valori is a great person & I think very highly of him, but hes also a grown man who should also take some responsibility for the outcome. Noone likes when things dont go their way. Its human nature for ppl to start pointing fingers. If he had to ? his eligibility more than once,he shouldve consulted in the approp. people.If the mayor knew he couldnt run, he would have [hopefully] said something when Mr. Shah lost his chance. B4 u start making accusations, calling names & pointing fingers, its very important to think before you speak
Hank Heller June 28, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I am shocked at how jaded so many Parsippany residents have become. To expect those in power to select those who think like them and whose vote they can count on is the height of weakness. Has anyone read the terrific book by Doris Kearns Goodwin and RIchard Thomas, "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln"? If our current administration only selects their "old buddies" and loyal fellow clubmembers, we can expect to have mediocrity or worse from our elected officials, (which is what we have had). Frankly, when I voted for Mayor Barberio, I had hoped that he would have the strength to select people who would argue with him, challenge him and offer divergent views, so he and the Town Council could select the best paths for his administration and our town. THAT is how his administration could be assured of re-election, by picking the best ideas and directions for Parsippany. Picking convenient directions is only guaranteed to earn him viable opposition. I have been challenging the current administration for a while now, NOT because I want their jobs, but because I want them to do what is really good for Parsippany. That will ultimately be most helpful to them in keeping themselves in office. For the past several years all I have seen is the administration giving their potential opponents a very good platform by which to run against the status quo. I wish that would end. Hank Heller
Bob Crawford June 29, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Hank You are spot on with your reference to Team of Rivals which is must reading for any elected official grappling with challenges that call for convening the best minds available to identify and implement creative, intelligent and non partisan solutions. Imagine if President Lincoln, because of some personal insecurity, had feared Cabinet members and generals far more experienced then him. Imagine if President Lincoln had demanded that any and all of his appointees pledge a personal oath of loyalty to him to ensure his political well being rather committing to the the well being of the nation, Imagine if President Lincoln had been so consumed by his need to be validated by being re-elected that he sought to identify and reward particular interest groups with his attention and patronage in exchange for their promised votes. Imagine America today if President Lincoln and his team of rivals hadn't had the courage, commitment and skills to put community before personal gain. Imagine a Parsippany being led by a Mayor and a Town Council that would honor the principles espoused and practiced by President Lincoln......
Angelina June 29, 2012 at 01:19 AM
U did all catch the point of my comment where I said, everyone wants their team members, but it doesn't mean they get who they want, right? And that people have minds of their own and make their own decisions. Bc it seems u read the opposite for whatever reason ... Anyway, I'm not want to bicker back and fourth for all to see, but I Did want to clarify my point incase u missed it.
Angelina June 29, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Going through life with "what ifs" will only disappoint. There is more to life than politics. Try focusing more of ur attention on that than ur hatred towards the mayor and the town council. Obviously no matter what u say, ur not changing anything!
Hank Heller June 29, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Wasn't it just a few short weeks ago that this person without an identifiable name was writing on all of Parsippany Patch's blogs the attached apology? "I wanted to publicly apologize for any rude comments I may have made. I have come to terms with my issues and realized I have been way out of line with some of my comments. I look forward to working together to form a better future for Parsippany children. Once again please accept my apology and I promise to not revert back to my old ways." Parpardon This is one of the reasons that I will not respond to people who do not have the character nor integrity to honestly and openly identify themselves. And you can put Steven Colpar and Robert Lawrence in the same mix since neither show up on any Parsippany phone records that I have been able to find. Please note that I only have looked up records to make sure that I am trying to communicate with people who have the courage to stand up for what they believe. It is easy to shoot at people when you do not have to be identified. It is a little (actually, a lot) tougher when one might be called upon to answer for their actions. By the way, I really do not care if you are on any side of a discussion. If you won't identify yourself, you are not a person of integrity and therfore your comments need to be discounted by people of honorable intent. Hank Heller
Carol M. June 29, 2012 at 03:16 PM
It would seem to me that there was chaos all around starting with Monday & climaxing with Tuesday's outcome. First Mr Strumolo publicly announces that he feels a woman should hold the vacant seat & in turn when given the chance, nominates MR Schindel?? Then Mrs Petaccia in all her political wisdom nominates Mrs Gragnani who is a wonderful woman & well deserving but whom Mrs Petaccia just unseated?? Then Mr Crawford attempts to mend fences by nominating Mrs Tiedeman, again a wonderful woman but nominated by Mr. Crawford?? Doesn't anyone talk to each other?? Then it seems that female names were gathered in a hat with desperate drawings until they came across someone willing to say OK?? And the female who says yes , Mrs Carifi sites working on campaigns for her brother-in-law as a qualifier & who is the sister-in-law of a seated TC member & the wife of a BOE candidate?? Then to top it all off, Mr Valori, whom I think is terrific & well deserving of support doesn't tell anyone that he is still employed by the township & whose eligibility may be in question, is caught off guard when it turns out he is ineligible?? Then he blames others for his error?? Then Mr Crawford goes off on another delusional tirade about those two days, well ...that one isn't a surprise but it sure doesn't help. You just can't make these things up! Congratulations Mr Vigilante, despite the crazy start to your new term, I'm sure you will do a great job on our behalf just as you have done so in the past.
Mark June 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Carol, I don't think that is accurate about Mr. Valori. He said in the article that he told the mayor and the police department about his intentions and tried to make sure it would not be an issue. I'm not sure what more he was supposed to do? I guess in hindsight he should have asked Inglesino, not the mayor.
Angelina June 29, 2012 at 03:54 PM
your opionion of me, and telling me i'm not a "person of integrity", really means nothing to me, but thank you for your honesty and the chuckle. If i was bashing someone, name calling, etc, like parpardon does, you could say i was hiding behind my computer. But i don't bash people. I am simply voicing an opinion that i don't need to be hunted down for. However, it's because of people like you, who stalk others apparently, that others don't identify themselves. (safety reasons, privacy reasons, etc) No offense, but i dont need you checking my phone records and suddenly looking me up on facebook, the internet, my address, etc. I'm just voicing my thoughts. Just as you do. You do seem to be a bully on these blogs, but thats you, and that's fine. i'm also not someone who stalks others either, so, the fact that you do, doesnt really make you much of an honorable person either. Just saying... now, I fortunately have a life outside of this political disaster, i've said my piece, i'm not having a public fight any further. So enjoy the summer weekend! and relax a little, eh? and if i see you at future political events, i promise i will come and say hi if it makes you feel better :)
Jim Vigilante June 29, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Thank you Carol M. for your confidence in me. I am a little older and hopefully a little wiser. My experience in the Military (see previous postings) over the last few years will assist and guide me in making informned and intelligent decisions in doing what is best for the taxpayers of Parsippany. You may not always agree with me, but we should be able to debate the issues constructively and if nothing ellse "Agree to Disagree". Happy 4th of July to all. My Contact info is: jvigilante@nac.net Phone: 973-334-5109
Steven Colpar June 29, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Hank, Fear not - I am … who am I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. "I am," I said, To no one there, And no one heard at all, Not even the chair I am the eggman, they are the eggmen. I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob g'goo goo g'joob. But I’m sincerely crushed that you won’t converse with me. In fact… so crushed I fear that I may need to console myself with several servings of my favorite ice cream ….. http://cdn.funcheap.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/americone_dream1.jpg AND YOU ALL SHOULD TOO! GO OUT AND BUY SOME TODAY PAR-NATION!
Steven Colpar June 29, 2012 at 05:29 PM
What happens if we "Disagree on Agreeing" or worse yet "Disagree on Agreeing to Disagree"?
Harland June 29, 2012 at 05:45 PM
What I find sad about all this is that the Republican party (which I belong to) chose Jim Vigilante for the position. Jim previously held office in Parsippany and lost his re-election bid. In other words, the citizens of Parsippany VOTED HIM OUT OF OFFICE. The Republican party decided to ignore the public by appointing him back to local government. Seriously guys, are you putting any thought into this?
Steven Colpar June 29, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Are you yourself Harland putting any thought into this? If so - than you're doing 1000% more than voters actually do.... thus - it doesn't really matter who's on the ballot - does it? See how that works?
VietNam Vet June 30, 2012 at 11:47 PM
NO!!!!! I had that feeling from the moment I met him at my house, he is showing how crooked he is.
VietNam Vet June 30, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Hey Bob just a congrats to you.
VietNam Vet June 30, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Oh Hank you are so right. I agree with you, parsippany has fallen into corrupt hands with this mayor and inglisino, two idiots as bad as Odumbo who loves to spend our money.
VietNam Vet June 30, 2012 at 11:57 PM
The last thing we need in town again is Vigilante who once said to shut up everything goes up including taxes so face it. This guy is a jerk and doesn't belong in a public office of any kind. Taxes do not have to keep going up, they can go the other way if the mayor wants it to, he can find away. This mayor doesn't give a darn how he hurts the taxpayers in this corrupt town.
Mike P July 01, 2012 at 04:13 AM
I can't believe what I am reading. Are we all Dory from Finding Nemo? Do we all have such short memories about Sgt. Jimmy? Caro Dio! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCjNg-kqt68&feature=plcp
Par4theCourse July 01, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Very funny lampoon. Heaven help us....
Jim Vigilante July 01, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Thank you for your honesty it much appreciated in this day and age. Also, for the record that statement never came out of my mouth. I pulled the CD a few years ago and Judy Silver who also listened to it never heard me make that statement. What I did say was that Taxes don't go down because the cost of running a town(salaries, operating expenses, materials, etc) keep going up, unfortuantely they never go down let alone stay the same. As taxpayers we see that in our everyday purchases to live. What we need to do is find inovative ways to bring in additioanl ratables without sacrificing our great services that we all have come to enjoy and to hold the line on expenditures until we do or be cost conscience and serve our taxpayers as best we can. I am open for ideas, please feel free to contatc me at jvigilante@nac.net 973-334-5109
Jim Vigilante July 01, 2012 at 08:42 PM
That YouTube video has always been one of my favorites, At least you can say I have a sense of humor.
Hank Heller July 02, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Mr. Vigilante, I read just last week where Montville has announced a two year holiday from water and sewer bills for the residents of that town since there was a large surplus in that account. How about Parsippany doing something similar, since there is approximately $7MM in excess moneys that has been collected by Parsippany in the the Parsippany Water and Sewer accounts. This money should not be used as a discretionary fund for the any administation. It is clear that we have been overcharged since the township forced replacement of the water meters some years ago. We have similar unused moneys sitting in the Open Space Fund (which the Mayor wanted to use to fund the Field of Dreams project). It woud be appropriate and politically smart to give the excess funds back to the voters. In that way, perhaps the majority of the people of Parsippany could begin to believe in the local leadership once again. Hank Heller
VietNam Vet July 02, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Well Jimmy, that all remains to be seen, because you never did a good job for the taxpayers before. Your past is raising taxes somemore, in an economy like we have right now, thats the last thing we need. Yor service to our country is admirable but the service to this town leaves alot to be desired. Lets see if you can do something right for the taxpayers this time.
VietNam Vet July 02, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Hank, I am so in agreement with you. I'm glad someone besides me is concerned with all this money the town is holding and still refuses to change things so our bills will be back to normal. This mayor is hell bent on screwing the taxpayers out of more money. He does not have the taxpayers in mind or ever will.
Mike P July 02, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Hank and Paul Brown, you are aware that former and soon to be current councilman Vigilante was on the council when the excessive water and sewer fees were increased. You are aware that John Nelson has been arguing to have that money returned and the fees lowered for the past 3 years. You are aware that people have brought this up at past meetings only to hit a brick wall.
Hank Heller July 02, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Mr. Panico, I was not aware that Mr. Vigilante had any involvement with the excessive water and sewer fees. I also was not aware that Jon Nelson has been arguing to have the excess water and sewer fees returned to the taxpayers. And I am also not aware that other people have brought the various overfunding situations up before the Town Council. So, thank you for the explanation. I do not think for a moment, however, that I am the originator of any of the good ideas. I just hope that the administration hears the voices of it's constituents and pays attention. Because, if they do not pay attention to the voice of the people, at some time or another, they may not have to pay attention at all. Sincerely, Hank Heller
VietNam Vet July 02, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Hank you are so right, I for one would lead the parade to get the mayor thrown out because he does for himself and what he wants, he doesn't give a damn what the people are saying, and hopefully at his re-election we send him packing. I think maybe its time we start a petition to make him refund all this money. He is getting as bad as Odumbo[Osama] bin blow hard.
parpardon July 05, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Just as an FYI, I am in fact the world's BIGGEST douchebag.
parpardon July 05, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Just as an FYI, I am in fact the world's BIGGEST douchebag.

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