Verona Mayor Bob Manley says that, while a phone call that Township Manager Joe Martin made to Councilman Michael Nochimson in May was “inappropriate”, Martin has apologized for his actions.
According to a story by Paula Brown of the Verona Observer, Martin called Nochimson on the evening of Tuesday, May 21 about the councilman’s distribution of Martin’s contract to members of the Town Council, a call that included a remark that Nochimson perceived as threatening.
Manley said that he was told by Township Attorney Michael Gannaio that Martin met with Nochimson and apologized for the call. Nochimson confirms that a meeting did take place, but says it was three weeks after the phone call and that the apology was “insincere”. “He did not give an apology that you or I would accept from our children,” Nochimson said. He added that Martin agreed to meet a week later, but failed to keep that appointment. Nochimson filed a report on the phone call with the Verona Police on June 28. Martin has declined to comment on the incident.
Manley, who was just reelected to the Town Council, defended Martin’s conduct as town manager. “I have always known Mr. Martin to be completely appropriate and professional in my meetings with him,” Manley said. He likened the exchange between Martin and Nochimson to a workplace disagreement and added that “if I did this for every altercation I have had in my life I couldn’t work with anybody.”
“My main concern is getting through this and over this so that we can get back to the business of running the town,” Manley said. “I hope the apology will end up being sufficient.” Manley said he asked Nochimson what it would take to resolve the matter and “he said that we need a new town manager.” Asked about that, Nochimson said that “I don’t recall that but it doesn’t sound inaccurate.”
Nochimson added, “We need a manager who is respectful to the needs and information required for the Council to make responsible decisions for the citizens.”
The Council will hold a private session Wednesday night to conduct a previously scheduled review of Martin’s performance under his current contract. That contract expires in August.