Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Judge Declines to Halt DPW Deal

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Judge Declines to Halt DPW Deal

Article excerpt

A judge declined Tuesday to stop Montvale from disbanding its Department of Public Works and hiring River Vale's, prompting Montvale's council to move ahead with the budget-cutting deal that evening.

The council authorized the mayor and clerk to execute a shared- services agreement. Mayor Roger Fyfe said he has signed off on the agreement and is waiting for River Vale Mayor Joseph Blundo to sign the deal before the details are made public.

However, Montvale DPW workers, who oppose the measure, will have a chance to argue against it in a court hearing in October.

In Superior Court in Hackensack on Tuesday morning, the workers asked Judge Lisa Perez Friscia to prevent Montvale from approving the shared-services pact.

They also sought to void the ordinance disbanding their department and creating a Pascack Valley DPW, which would be under River Vale control.

The judge said she would not stop Montvale's council from voting because litigation might be unnecessary if the council rejected the measure after hearing more public discussion.

Also, Friscia said, an injunction is not needed if the plaintiffs do not face immediate irreparable harm. She pointed out that DPW workers will stay employed until the deal takes effect, expected Nov. 1.

But she granted workers an Oct. 11 hearing to challenge the ordinance, saying, "Clearly, this is a very important case for DPW workers and residents and of much concern to many."

The Mayor and Council adopted the ordinance to dissolve the DPW and contract services with River Vale's DPW July 30 at a public hearing where about 100 people protested.

Council members Rose Curry and Mike Ghassali voted against the ordinance. In the vote authorizing execution of the pact, Ghassali was the sole dissenter.

The ordinance is based on a study by LKM Consulting that found River Vale and Montvale could save about $400,000 each by sharing services.

Montvale workers would lose their jobs, with no guarantee of spots as River Vale's DPW expanded to cover Montvale, adding three laborers and a mechanic. …

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