Resident Sues Township Over Bello Serving on the Environmental Commission
Bill Brennan claims his rights and the rights of “every citizen and taxpayer of the State of New Jersey" have been damaged.
A resident says that the town is in violation of state law by having Jerry Bello continue to serve on the Wayne Environmental Commission.
Bill Brennan’s lawsuit against the town and Bello states that Bello should not be allowed to serve on the commission because he was convicted of official misconduct in 1994. Bello allegedly took bribes while he was chairman of the Paterson Improvement Authority. He was sentenced to four years probation. He is chairman of the commission.
Brennan's lawsuit references a state law that states: "any person convicted of an offense involving or touching on his pubic office, position, or employment shall be forever disqualified from holding any office or position."
Brennan passed out copies of his lawsuit to attendees before the council meeting Wednesday night. He addressed members of the public before the meeting began and was asked by Council President Joseph Schweighardt and township attorney Matthew Giacobbe to stop talking.
“Until you fix this, it is illegal,” Brennan said to the council during the public portion of the meeting.
In the suit, Brennan claims that Bello’s continued occupancy of his position violates the law and damages his rights and the rights of “every citizen and taxpayer of the State of New Jersey.”
Bello’s name was one of three, including Mayor Christopher Vergano’s, submitted to the council for appointment to mayor in 2008. The council unanimously selected Vergano.
The lawsuit states that Vergano was appointed mayor “in the face of an incomplete list of eligible candidates” and, because of that alleged “unlawful” appointment, an additional name be submitted to the council “so that retroactive ratification of Vergano’s appointment by the Wayne Township Council may take place.”
Brennan is also seeking reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and the cost of filing the suit.
Mayor Chris Vergano declined to comment on the suit.