Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

City Manager Agrees to Step Down

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

City Manager Agrees to Step Down

Article excerpt

HACKENSACK -- The City Council asked the city manager to step down Monday afternoon, four months after reappointing him and granting him a one-year contract in a move that sparked criticism because of his ties to the embattled former administration.

Stephen Lo Iacono, city manager since 2005, was the city's chief administrator during a tumultuous time when the city's police department was in disarray, its police chief faced criminal charges and lawsuits against the city multiplied. Lo Iacono also was sued for failing to respond to sexual harassment complaints in the Building Department.

City spokesman Thom Ammirato confirmed that the manager agreed to step down at a 4 p.m. meeting with the mayor, deputy mayor and city attorney.

"All I can tell you so far is a separation agreement is in the works and Mr. Lo Iacono is scheduled to be with us until Friday," Ammirato said.

Ammirato would not discuss the details. Mayor John Labrosse and Deputy Mayor Kathy Canestrino issued a joint statement.

"Both sides tried to make this relationship work and we realized it was not a good fit," they said. "It wasn't working, for the council and it wasn't working for the city manager. We feel it is in the best interest of the city of Hackensack to move forward."

Lo Iacono, who made $167,303 last year, did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

The council voted 4-1 on Aug. 20 to extend Lo Iacono's contract by one year, in a controversial move given his ties to the administration of the powerful Zisa political family.

During that administration, more than 20 police officers filed lawsuits against the police chief at the time, Ken Zisa, alleging that he ran a corrupt department that he ruled by retaliation and intimidation. Some officers said Zisa forced them to support his candidacy for political office and the candidacies of his allies, or face retribution.

Zisa was convicted in 2012 of official misconduct and insurance fraud for interfering with an investigation in which his girlfriend was suspected of driving while intoxicated. …

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