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Hillsdale Administrator's Resignation Details to Emerge

Separation agreement between the borough and Jon DeJoseph will likely be released next week, attorney says.

Jon DeJoseph. File photo.
Jon DeJoseph. File photo.
A document detailing the conditions set between Hillsdale and the borough's former administrator for his resignation is expected to be released next week, borough attorney Eric Bernstein said Thursday.

The Hillsdale Council voted 3-1 to accept former Borough Administrator Jon DeJoseph's resignation during a special meeting December 30, but officials — including DeJoseph — have kept mum on most of the details of the separation agreement that went along with the resignation.

Separation agreements frequently include non-disparagement clauses which could make officials liable if they speak about them.

During a council meeting Thursday, Councilman Doug Frank, a Republican, accused the Democrat majority of forcing DeJoseph out for political reasons. DeJoseph was elected as a Republican to the council and served for several years before resigning and taking the administrator/CFO job.

"Anybody knows that forced resignation is being fired," Frank said.

Democrats denied that DeJoseph's departure was political and questioned if Frank was making a campaign speech.

"I believe what we're doing is best for the borough," Council President Tom Kelley said.

Kelley also took issue with a letter written by Frank which appeared in this week's Community Life. Frank wrote that "Secrecy in local government can lead to a number of illegal actions by elected officials. I am afraid Hillsdale is now on that course."

"No one on the council made this a secret agreement," Kelley said. "We were told this was a confidential agreement by our attorney."

Kelley said he supported releasing the document.

The council seats held by both Frank and Kelley will be up for election this year.

In the meantime, DeJoseph has been kept on through January as CFO to help with the temporary budget, but he is not working from borough hall and is just answering any questions for other borough employees, officials said Thursday. During the meeting, the council approved a resolution allowing as much as $8,000 be paid to their auditor to help with preliminary 2014 budget work because the borough doesn't have a CFO doing it, officials said.

Also, Borough Clerk Sue Witkowski is currently serving as the temporary administrator, officials said. The council personnel committee plans to interview at least one candidate to fill the temporary position before the borough searches for a permanent replacement.

Councilman Larry Meyerson said he believed the borough's professionals should be structured differently because they need a full-time CFO. While DeJoseph filled a combined administrator/CFO role, Meyerson said he wanted to have the CFO separate and instead hire a combined clerk/administrator. That combination would be better for internal "checks and balances," he said.

"We have to move on, and we have to have a plan that makes sense," Meyerson said.
Barry Black January 25, 2014 at 09:21 AM
We can only hope that DeJoseph's forced resignation was purely political and not for a nefarious reason.
Hawk68 January 31, 2014 at 11:24 PM
Doug Frank is a pretty straightforward, no-nonsense navy vet who ran a large company. And Larry Meyerson is an ambitious attorney with lots of attorney friends that has played a roll in the last 5 professional changes at town hall. I have to think that Frank has this figured out. These professional appointments give Meyerson the ability to quickly raise campaign cash quickly when (spoiler alert!) he runs for Hillsdale Mayor in two years. Unfortunately, the other Councilpersons are essentially kids or, in Kelley's case, hungover. So we're not likely to see anyone else on Council stand up to Larry.

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