Town Council member Michael Nochimson and Town Manager Joe Martin have agreed to mediation in the matter of the criminal complaint filed by Nochimson against Martin.
The mediation agreement was reached in a hearing in Livingston’s municipal court on Thursday. Terms were not made public but Nochimson seemed satisfied. “I am pleased that we were able to agree on mediation,” he said Friday. The criminal complaint case was dismissed after the mediation deal was finalized.
Nochimson filed a criminal complaint against Martin in July, two months after receiving a threatening, late night phone call from Martin. The complaint alleged that Martin placed a call to Nochimson at 9:02 p.m. on May 21 “while under the influence of some substance”. The Verona Observer reported had reported that Martin called Nochimson after the councilman got a copy of the Martin’s contract and distributed it to the other council members. The paper said that Martin threatened Nochimson saying, “Good luck, and watch yourself buddy boy.” Nochimson filed the criminal complaint after efforts to secure an apology from Martin failed.
Four days after the complaint was filed, the Town Council approved a new three-year contract for Martin–Verona’s manager since 2004–at a meeting packed with town employees. Council member Kevin Ryan had sought to delay the vote until after the criminal complaint was heard and to get an apology from Martin. “I don’t want to be the next member of the council getting a 9 o’clock call,” said Ryan. “You have to be able to question information without offending the manager’s sensibilities.” “Conduct and ethics, that’s what we’re talking about here,” he added. “Just because it’s not criminal doesn’t mean it’s not right.”