Nochimson Alleges Threat By Town Manager

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Nochimson and Martin at the Town Council swearing in ceremony July 2
Nochimson and Martin at the Town Council swearing in ceremony July 2

Councilman Michael Nochimson has filed a police report after receiving a threatening phone call from Township Manager Joseph Martin and Verona’s town attorney tried to block the release of the report to the press.

According to a story just published by Paula Brown of the Verona Observer, Martin made the threatening call on Tuesday, May 21. Nochimson did not file a report with the Verona Police Department until June 28.

“I waited more than a month to see if I could get resolution to this matter, and keep it private,” Nochimson told the Observer. “When I saw no resolution in sight, I filed the report. Verona does not deserve a township manager that behaves this way.”

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The incident apparently stemmed from Nochimson’s months-long efforts to obtain a copy of Martin’s contract for the Town Council to review. Martin has been the manager since 2004 and the Council was slated to give him a performance review before voting on whether to extend his current contract, which expires in August.

According to the Observer, Martin called Nochimson after the councilman got a copy of the contract and distributed it to the other council members. The paper says that Martin threatened Nochimson saying, “Good luck, and watch yourself buddy boy.”

It is usually easy to obtain incident reports from the Verona Police. But Brown was initially unable to get the report on Martin’s call and had to resort to filing an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request. Township Attorney Michael Gannaio denied the request, telling Brown that the report pertained to a personnel matter so it could not be released. The Observer got a copy of the report from Pat Toscano, an attorney hired by Nochimson:

“Our client purposely has made all of this public, because as a councilman representing the people of Verona, they definitely have the right to know what is going on in their form of government. Transparency in government is of the utmost importance,” Toscano said.

Toscano, who characterized Martin’s actions as “deplorable” told the Observer that he plans to charge Martin with criminal harassment, and said Nochimson may file a civil suit as well.

Martin did not immediately return a call for comment. Martin declined to comment on the Observer‘s report. “It’s unprofessional behavior,” Nochimson told this reporter, “and Verona deserves better.”

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You can read the Observer‘s story here and the police report here.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

11 COMMENTS

  1. The Town Manager position needs to be reviewed and other candidates need to be interviewed. Please urge your councilmen to seek alternative options and do right by verona residents.

  2. If Mr. Martin’s contract is a “public document” then how does the public get access to it? It might shed some light on this angst between Nochimson and Martin.

    If Mr. Martin does not want his contract shared with the public, then perhaps he should seek a different line of work where contracts and salaries are kept private.

  3. Good for Nochimson, Martin has been taking advantage of Verona and its citizen for years. Someone finally stood up to him,

  4. I just watched all of the YouTube videos from the 2011 council meeting where the council members were asked whether they would rehire Joe Martin. It appears that Mr. Martin has had an “attitude” problem with many members of the town, for years. It’s clear that Mr. Martin is a competent manager, but his “bedside manner” is lacking and he has not been straight with many town members who have asked him for answers regarding the town budget. It does appear that Mr. Martin’s ego and well-earned knowledge as a town manager has gotten in the way of him being able to do his job effectively when it comes to communicating properly with the citizens of the town he is employed by.

    His altercation with Mr. Nochimson appears to be yet another manifestation of Mr. Martin’s personality that has rubbed so many people the wrong way.

    The news article referenced above mentions Mr. Martin’s salary is $166K/year which does seem rather high for a town employee. I’m of the opinion that Mr. Martin is technically competent and a good town manger, but I also believe there are other great candidates out there who would manage Verona just as well and have a better working relationship with the town council.

  5. Joe Martin is a terrific man and a great manager. How come nobody questions the motives of those filimg complaints? Has this society completely abandoned hearing both sides of the story these days? I give Mr Martin much more credit that he seems to be getting

  6. As in all businesses — one must look at one’s record and this should have been made available without any issues — i do not know the whole story and will try to read up on both sides – if this can be obtained . I do feel that it is time that questions should be asked and councilmen and town managers be questioned as to their performance as the rest of us have to do in our own jobs.

  7. Residents of Verona – Mr. Martin has finally shown his true colors for all to see (not behind closed doors with 1 on 1 personal meetings) – now is the time to finally rid ourselves of this egotistical self serving individual that pushes his own costly agenda onto the residents of this great community.

    Enough is enough is enough – JOE MUST GO – JOE MUST GO.

    What better time for a change – his contract is up – and we can get rid of him with no strings attached. Just rip the band-aid off and be done with him – Verona will be all the better for it.

    Please attend the council meeting on this coming Monday and make your voice hear – also please call your town council members and let them know that they should not condone this behavior.

  8. Residents of Verona….Joe must go…Joe must go…did any of you
    ever take a moment to see the terrific job this man has done for
    your town during an extremely difficult economic situation? You
    don’t have to like him, but for heaven’s sake give the man credit for
    knowing his job and doing it well. People with one thing on their
    minds..personal vendetta type of thinking is disgusting…Verona lived
    through something like this once before and it split the town apart..
    don’t let it happen again.
    Supporters of Mr. Martin better start speaking up. It would be a
    relief to watch channel 35 and not hear constant negative comments,
    usually from the same people.

  9. Okay so as long as you do a good job we will look the other way when it comes to abusing power. This complacency is root of many problems in our country right now! Its not okay in my book. We teach our children that if something isn’t right you need to speak up. This is another example of Mr. Martin having his own self interest at the top of his list and being blinded by his own arrogance. If I was on the town council this would be an easy decision but I’m not so I need to hope that they are listening really good to the townspeople.

  10. He, martin works for us, the problem is majority of the council likes him,so we, the citizens have to put up with this nonsense.

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